Top U.S. general in Afghanistan steps down as military mission nears end

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Top U.S. general in Afghanistan steps down as military mission nears end
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Top U.S. general in Afghanistan steps down as military mission nears end
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General Scott Miller stepped down today as both the last and longest serving American commander in America’s longest war. At a small ceremony at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Miller called the assignment “the highlight of my military career,” saying the people of Afghanistan “will be in my heart and on my mind for the rest of my life.”

His departure marks the symbolic end of the 20-year U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. And it comes amid a surge in violence from Taliban militants who have launched coordinated offensives across the country.

Miller said he told Taliban representatives, “It’s important that military sides set the conditions for a peaceful and political settlement in Afghanistan, but we know that with that violence, it would be very difficult to achieve a political settlement.”

Miller has been in charge of U.S. and NATO forces since 2018, a role that will now be led from afar — from CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, to be exact.

Central Command Marine General Frank McKenzie made the trip to Kabul for the handover ceremony. As CENTCOM commander, McKenzie already had authority over Afghanistan and much of the rest of the region, including Iraq and Syria.

On the flight to Kabul, McKenzie told a group of reporters that he believed the Taliban are pursuing a “military victory” over the Afghan government, as evidenced by the insurgent group’s rapid battlefield gains in recent weeks.

The Taliban have taken control of more than one-third of Afghanistan’s 421 districts, seizing several strategic locations including border crossings with Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

You can read the rest of Charlie D’Agata’s article at CBSnews.com

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