Afghanistan: new US general takes over command of NATO forces

KABUL (TCA) — U.S. Army General Scott Miller has assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan as Washington faces growing questions over its strategy to force the Taliban into peace talks with the Western-backed government in Kabul, RFE/RL reports.

“To be successful, we must continually learn and adapt to the enemy and the environment,” Miller said at a change-of-command ceremony at the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission on September 2.

“There is no room for status quo. We cannot afford to be complacent,” Miller said.

The United States is now a year into its strategy of stepping up pressure on the Taliban by increasing air strikes and sending thousands more troops to train and advise Afghan forces.

However, there are no clear signs of success so far, as militants continue to attack government and military targets and civilian casualties are running at record levels.

Afghan forces, meanwhile, are understrength because of heavy casualties and high levels of desertion and continue to face problems with organization and logistics.

While the Taliban has not managed to take any major urban centers, it controls large areas of the countryside.

Speaking at the ceremony in Kabul, the outgoing commander, John Nicholson, urged militants to listen to demands of peace from the Afghan people.

“I believe that some of the Taliban want peace also, but they are being encouraged to keep fighting,” he said. “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”

Miller commands some 16,000 NATO troops — including about 14,000 U.S. forces — under the Resolute Support mission that is focused on training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces.

On the eve of the change-of-command ceremony, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that “NATO remains committed to supporting Afghan security forces as they create the condition for lasting security and peace.”

Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, who attended the ceremony said: “Together we will eliminate the menace of terrorism from Afghanistan and the region.”

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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