Joint Chiefs Chairman says: “We are all in pain and anger” after the 20 year war in Afghanistan

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized the soldiers’ mental health, saying they felt “at war” after the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The two held their first press conference since the last American troops left Afghanistan on Wednesday.

“We all have pain and anger when we see what has happened in the last 20 years and in the last 20 days that creates pain and anger,” said Milley. “I am a professional soldier, I will keep my pain and anger in check and make my mission easier.”

The head of the US Central Command, General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, announced on Monday that all US troops had withdrawn from the country, marking the end of the nation’s longest war. The last U.S. plane left Afghanistan at 3:29 PM ET on Monday.

The final troops in the war in Afghanistan were those who supported the largest non-combat evacuation mission in US military history, which has evacuated over 124,000 people since late July.

The operation ended despite leaving US citizens and numerous vulnerable Afghans who risked retaliation by the Taliban. In the final days of the operation, 13 US soldiers and over 170 Afghan civilians were killed when a suicide bomber exploded outside the airport.

President Biden called the evacuation mission an “extraordinary success” in a comment on Tuesday recalling the end of the evacuation mission and thus the war. Mr. Biden made the decision earlier this year to end the war and withdraw all troops by August 31st.

“We have succeeded in what we set out to do in Afghanistan over a decade ago. Then we stayed another decade, ”said Biden in his remarks on Tuesday. “It was time to end this war.”

More than 2,400 Americans died in the war in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 were wounded. The US spent nearly $ 1 trillion on the war, according to a recent report by the Inspector General.

On Tuesday, Milley said in his first public comment since the war ended, “Today is an incredibly emotional day. We all face feelings of pain and anger. Sorrow and sadness. Combined with pride and resilience.”

“One thing I am sure of – for every soldier, sailor, aviator or marine and their family – your service was important.

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