Afghan army collapse took US by ‘surprise’: Pentagon chief

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Washington (AFP) – Top US military leaders acknowledged Tuesday that the Taliban’s rapid takeover in Afghanistan took them by surprise and expressed concern the Islamic regime has not broken ties with Al-Qaeda. “We helped build a state, but we could not forge a nation,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and evacuation. “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,” he said. “It would be dishonest to claim o…

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