4,000 American may remain as hostages in Afghanistan
Milley, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, defends phone calls to Chinese and Dems
During questioning in front of the Senate Armed Forces Committee Tuesday, Sept. 28, Sec. Of Defense Llyod Austin said, “I personally don’t believe that there are 4,000 American citizens still left in Afghanistan, but I cannot confirm or deny that.”
Austin was responding to Sen. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) who had done the match and come up with that number. Inhofe pointed out that the State Department said the U.S. military had evacuated 6,000 Americans out of the 10,000 to 15,000 Americans they said were in Afghanistan at the time of the withdrawal.
“That would mean a minimum of 4,000 would still be there now. Would anyone disagree?” Inhofe said. After several seconds of silence, he continued, ““By your silence, I assume you agree.”
Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were in front of the committee to respond to questions about the disastrous withdrawal August withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Milley was also questioned about phone calls he made to his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng in October of last year and again during the riots in Washington, D.C., in January of this year.
Milley is alleged to have told the Chinese military leader that he would warn them if Trump launched an attack on China. The allegations came to light in a book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, “Peril.”
Milley is also alleged to have made inappropriate calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during that time period.
“My loyalty to this nation, its people, and the Constitution hasn’t changed and will never change as long as I have a breath to give,” Milley said.
He claimed that his phone calls to his Chinese counterpart are a matter of routine communication.
Of the call to Pelosi, Milley said, “I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process."
Milley is also accused of calling key members of his staff into a conference where he demanded, and received, their assurances that they would not take orders from then Pres. Donald Trump but, instead, would refer to Milley for direction. However, he characterized the meeting differently.
Milley said he “convened a short meeting in my office with key members of my staff to refresh on these procedures … At no time was I attempting to change or influence the process, usurp authority or insert myself into the chain of command, but I am expected to give my advice and ensure that the president is fully informed.”
Numerous Republicans have called for the resignations of Milley and Austin. Biden has stated that they still have his confidence.