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As well, we began to recognize the importance of partnerships, how we worked with different people—not only with our international partners but really within our own government—these campaigns really forced people to begin to work together. There were dichotomies between the Department of Defense’s CT approach and the intelligence community’s CT approach. And so those had to be reconciled over time, and these were issues that we grappled with for years. And, of course, all of this ultimately resulted in much better-defined CT strike policies, processes, and approaches that I think were largely very, very successful for us.
I mean, from my perspective, once the decision to withdraw our forces was taken, I think what was required was a more deliberate plan, militarily and diplomatically, built around specific conditions that had to be worked with the Afghan government. And I think that extends to the military forces and making sure that they were up to the challenge that this withdrawal of U.S. and other coalition forces would present.
I think the vast majority of U.S. military officers and soldiers served honorably and nobly, answered the nation's call in a time of need. And I think we should take pride in that. And I think they attempted to do that. That this did not turn out the way that we all hoped it would be, I think doesn't diminish that. But certainly, the - you know, there will be a level of accountability that we'll have to accept with this.
The U.S. military’s presence also allows the United States to maintain its influence in both eastern Syria and Iraq and deter Iran, said retired Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who led U.S. Central Command from March 2016 until March 2019. “Moreover, it keeps us engaged on the topic of ISIS, and other VEOs [violent extremist organizations], and especially detained fighters – whose disposition is still not finally determined,” Votel said. “Finally, I think our presence is about showing support for a partner that was very valuable to us.”
Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much. Well, I think, like everybody, I'm surprised that this has transpired so quickly. But I think what we are all seeing at this point is kind of a lack of confidence in, you know, in the Afghan forces themselves and their leadership, their government and apparently in their partners here. And I think this drove the Afghan security forces to an approach of self-preservation. And so they were acting more individually than they were acting collectively at this particular point. And, of course, it collapsed quite quickly.
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That is the seminal event that caused us to really focus on developing the capabilities, developing the organizations, developing the command control structure and developing an organization that was focused on conducting missions of great importance to our nation, we recognized that we could not allow ourselves, allow our country, to fall into that situation again.
What we are always trying to do is to minimize the risk to our force and to accomplishment of the missions, so training and rehearsing for these things is extraordinarily important for us, after we've gone through all the processes of briefing our leadership and gaining the appropriate approvals, then it's about precise execution. And an expectation that our people are going to do what they've been trained to do.
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