Afghan army collapse ‘took us all by surprise,’ U.S. defense secretary

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By Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Congress on Tuesday that the Afghan army’s sudden collapse caught the Pentagon off-guard as he acknowledged miscalculations in America’s longest war including corruption and damaged morale in Afghan ranks. “The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It would be dishonest to claim otherwise.” Austin was speaking at the start of two days of what are…

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