Afghanistan: Commander of US & NATO Forces Steps Down
The Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Austin Scott Miller, resigns, ending 20 years of military intervention by the US-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan.
The Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller, steps down from his duties, in the latest symbolic gesture to end America's longest war, despite the continuing expansion of the "Taliban" Movement’s influence in the country.
During a ceremony organized on Monday in Kabul, General Miller, who has led the coalition forces in Afghanistan since September 2018, handed over command to General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of the US Central Command, stationed in Florida, in the southeast of the United States.
It is noteworthy that the US Central Command is responsible for US military operations in 20 countries in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, including Afghanistan.
The ceremony, held within the heavily fortified Green Zone in Kabul, was attended by top Afghan and military officials.
🚨قدم قائد القوات الأميركية في #أفغانستان الجنرال اوستن ميلر استقالته اليوم في موقف رمزي ايذاناً بنهاية الوجود العسكري وإكمال الانسحاب نهاية أغسطس القادم.— عبدالله الشايجي (@docshayji) July 12, 2021
🚨مايشكل نهاية حقبة 20 سنة من احتلال مكلف ودموي وفاشل لأطول حروب أمريكا-
وانتصار مدوٍ ل #طالبان https://t.co/6KgtNXGAX9
US President Joe Biden recently commissioned Miller to organize the final withdrawal of American forces from the country that is supposed to be completed by the end of August.
Biden made it clear that his country's involvement in the war launched after the 9/11 attacks has to end and that "it's the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future."
For his part, General McKenzie will oversee the remaining operations from command centers in the United States.
It is noteworthy that last May, most of the 2,500 American soldiers and the 7,500 NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan left, after Biden presented the final withdrawal plan in detail, leaving the Afghan forces in the face of the increasingly powerful "Taliban" Movement.
The US military completed 90% of its withdrawal, ending 20 years of military intervention by a coalition of NATO countries led by the US, launched in October 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
It is expected that 650 members of the US army will remain in Kabul to guard the large US embassy compound, where a ceremony was organized today, while the negotiations between the Taliban and the government that were supposed to take place in Doha are in stagnation.
"Leading this coalition was the highlight of my military career," said the Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, who survived an attempt by the "Taliban" to assassinate him in 2018.
After handing the coalition force flag to McKenzie, he added, "I know the people of Afghanistan will remain in my heart and on my mind for the rest of my life."
US forces have already handed over to the Afghan forces the vast Bagram Airbase, from which the coalition forces have been launching operations against the "Taliban" and other groups in the past two decades.
It is noteworthy that Miller's handover of his duties comes at the height of an all-out attack, launched by the "Taliban" in early May with the start of the withdrawal of foreign forces...
The "Taliban" Movement, which, since May, has seized large rural areas and approached several major cities, has entered the city of "Qala-e-Naw," which has a population of about 75,000, and announced its control over the Badghis district.
Last week, "Taliban" announced its control of two new towns in the Kandaharbadg Province, while other areas in Afghanistan are witnessing an escalation of hostilities between the Movement and the government forces.
In its turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced, two days ago, a meeting between the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries, which will take place next week in Tajikistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the "Taliban" Movement now controls two-thirds of the border strip with Tajikistan.
Last month, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi restated his country's refusal to allow the US to monitor Afghanistan from a Pakistani military base after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Kabul. This decision comes in accordance with the Doha Agreement, which was signed on February 29, 2020.