Austin and Milley to testify before House Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan exit

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie will testify in front of the House Armed Services Committee later this month on the U.S. military's chaotic exit from Afghanistan.

"The committee will receive testimony from the Department of Defense on the issues surrounding the end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan," the House Armed Services Committee said of the hearing, titled "Ending the U.S. Military Mission in Afghanistan."

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Austin, Milley, and McKenzie were central figures during the final days of the nearly 20-year U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, ending in an evacuation effort that led many lawmakers to question the military and Biden administration's exit strategy.

The testimony will come one day after the trio of military leaders testify in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will be their first public testimony since the collapse of the Afghan government and the end of the military mission in the country.

"Although we have completed the withdrawal of American military personnel and over 100,000 civilians from Afghanistan, I remain deeply concerned about the events that accompanied our withdrawal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis," committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed said of the hearing. "It is the duty of Congress—and the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular—to hold hearings to learn lessons from the situation in Afghanistan and ensure accountability at the highest levels."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed dismay over the final days of the Afghanistan mission, which included 13 U.S. Service Members being killed in a blast at Kabul's airport during the desperate attempt to evacuate as many Americans and Afghan allies as possible from the country before the Aug. 31 deadline.

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