Kenneth Mackenzie will assume the authority of four-star General Scott Miller when the U.S. ends its 20-year war in Afghanistan.
The top U.S. general in Afghanistan relinquished command Monday in an official ceremony in the capital, the latest symbolic gesture that brought America’s longest war to a close.
At a time when the Taliban were making great strides across the country, General Austin “Scott” Miller – the highest-ranking officer in Afghanistan – handed over command to General Kenneth McKenzie, a U.S. correspondent. AFP news agency at Kabul ceremony.
Miller has been in Afghanistan since 2018, but in May he was accused by General President Joe Biden of organizing the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, which should be completed by the end of August.
Since May, most of the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops at the time have left, and the United States has also ceded Bagram Air Force Base to Afghan forces, from where coalition forces conducted operations. against the Taliban and armed groups over the past two decades.
About 650 members of the U.S. service are expected to park in Kabul to protect Washington’s extensive diplomatic complex, where Monday’s ceremony took place.
Top Afghan officials and officials attended the ceremony in the heavily fortified green area.
President Joe Biden has reiterated that the United States will continue to engage in Afghanistan with humanitarian aid.
The United States is also committed to spending $ 4.4 billion annually to fund Afghanistan’s security forces by 2024.
The Taliban take control
The handover took place at the heavily fortified Resolute Support headquarters in the heart of Kabul, at a time of rapid territorial gains by Taliban fighters across Afghanistan.
At a flag-crossing ceremony, Miller recalled American and NATO troops killed in the nearly 20-year war, as well as the thousands of Afghans killed.
He warned that relentless violence in Afghanistan is making political agreement increasingly difficult.
The outgoing commander said he told Taliban officials “it is important that the military sides establish the conditions for a peaceful and political agreement in Afghanistan … But we know that with this violence it would be very difficult to reach a political agreement.”
The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, mostly funded by the United States and NATO, have resisted in some parts of the country, but Afghan government troops overwhelmingly appear to have abandoned the fighting.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have gained several strategic districts, mostly along the borders with Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Afghanistan’s national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib, who attended the transfer, said the withdrawal of the United States and NATO has left a void that caused Afghanistan’s national security forces to they were left on the battlefield without supplies, sometimes running out of food and ammunition.
In comments after the ceremony, Mohib said the biggest effect of the withdrawal is the lack of aircraft to supply troops.
Currently, the government is regrouping to reclaim strategic areas and defend its cities against Taliban advances.
The Taliban control more than a third of Afghanistan’s 421 districts and district centers. A claim by the Taliban that controls 85 percent of the districts is widely seen as exaggerated.