Embattled Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley will appear in front of Congress Tuesday — to face one of the most contentious hearings in memory over the botched Afghanistan withdrawal that led to the deaths of 13 US service members in its final days.
Milley, 63, is one of the top Pentagon officials called to testify over the chaotic ending of the 20-year war in Afghanistan that allowed the Taliban to almost instantly take back power.
It will include questions over the predicted suicide bombing at Kabul airport that killed 13 US service members and 169 Afghans.
Milley will also be challenged over damning reports in a new book that he went behind then-President Trump’s back to deal with China — assuring Beijing officials he would warn them of any planned military actions his commander-in-chief planned.
He’d previously declined to comment on details in the book, “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, saying he was saving his answers for the congressional hearings starting Tuesday.
He will face politicians who have already called for his resignation, accusing him of disloyalty — leading observers to predict the hearings will be among the most contentious hearings in memory.
Others are also comparing its importance to when Gen. David Petraeus was grilled over Iraq in 2007.
Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are both slated to testify Tuesday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and then on Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.
Both have defended the widely-criticized Afghanistan withdrawal that President Biden ordered in April.
However, Austin is expected to “be frank about the things we could have done better,” a US official told Reuters.
Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command who called the drone strike a “tragic mistake,” is also due to testify this week.
“The Biden administration’s avalanche of incompetence has damaged our international reputation and humiliated the United States on the world stage,” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, both Republicans, wrote in the Des Moines Register.
“Yet, our president and secretary of state continue to pretend that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was a historic success.”
With Post wires