Top commander in Afghanistan Austin Miller steps down

Top commander steps down
General Austin Scott Miller. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Austin “Scott” Miller, the top US and Nato general in Afghanistan has formally transferred control as the US-led military mission in the country fast approaches its end after 20 years.

He stepped down on Monday, days after President Biden said that US military operations would cease by 31 August.

Other Nato countries, including the United Kingdom, have withdrawn nearly all military forces ahead of Mr Biden’s US deadline.

It comes as Taliban militants aggressively seize more territory throughout Afghanistan.

In a simple ceremony on Monday, Gen Miller handed over his duties to two US generalsone one who will command the roughly 650 troops to remain after the official US withdrawal, and who will oversee US military action from Central Command headquarters in Florida.

In an emotional final adress, Gen Miller told the attendees, who included high ranking Afghan officials, “It’s important to me to say farewell. Our job is now not to forget.”

Gen Austin Miller was the longest serving officer to oversee Nato and US military forces in Afghanistan, which he called “the highlight” of his career.

Recently, the Taliban claimed that they have retaken 85% of territory in Afghanistan – a figure disputed by the government and impossible to independently verify. Other estimates say the Taliban controls more than a third of Afghanistan’s 400 districts.

US-led military invasion removed the Taliban from power in 2001. The militant group had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US that triggered the invasion.

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