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Miller takes over command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan

AT-KABUL: General Austin Scott Miller assumed Sunday command of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission from General John Nicholson at a ceremony at the mission’s headquarters in Kabul.

According to a statement released by the Resolute Support Mission, Miller would oversee the continued efforts by NATO allies and operational partners to further develop effective and sustainable Afghan security forces and institutions through the train, advice and assist mission.

General Miller had previously commanded the US Joint Special Operations Command. At the change of command ceremony in Kabul, he said: “We must enable our Afghan partners in building their security and military capacity so that they are able to deny safe havens to terrorists in a long-term and sustainable way.”

He stressed the strength of the Resolute Support Mission, which includes 41 NATO Allies and partners: “Forty-one. That number sticks with me. It’s powerful and I want to recognize NATO and the operational partners for building and sustaining such an inspiring team.”

General Nicholson, who commanded the Resolute Support Mission for two and a half years, said all the nations involved in Resolute Support the peace process:

“These nations are here on a conditions basis, not a calendar. Peace in Afghanistan is in everyone’s best interest. It not only ends the suffering of the Afghan people. Peace in Afghanistan makes the entire world safer,” said Nicholson.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with General Miller as the new Commander of our Resolute Support Mission, and I thank General Nicholson for his outstanding service,” NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by the statement.

He stressed that NATO would remain committed to supporting Afghan security forces as they would create the conditions for lasting security and peace.

At the NATO Summit in Brussels, on 11-12 July 2018, Heads of State and Government of all Allies and operational partners contributing to the Resolute Support Mission decided to sustain the mission until conditions on the ground indicate a change is appropriate, and to extend financial support for the Afghan security forces through 2024. They reaffirmed their support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

The Resolute Support Mission (RSM) was launched in January 2015, following the completion of the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in December 2014, when responsibility for security in Afghanistan was transferred to the Afghan national defense and security forces. Beyond supporting RSM, NATO Allies and partners are helping to sustain Afghan security forces and institutions financially, as part of a broader international commitment to Afghanistan. The NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership provides a framework for wider political dialogue and practical cooperation.

The Resolute Support Mission currently comprises of around 16,000 personnel from 41 NATO allies and partners. It operates with one ‘hub’ (Kabul/Bagram) and four ‘spokes’ (Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south, and Laghman in the east). In addition to the train, advice and assist its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions.

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