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Miller takes command of Resolute Support mission

Miller takes command of Resolute Support mission

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Sep 02, 2018 - 14:37

KABUL (Pajhwok): Gen. Austin Scott Miller on Sunday assumed command of Resolute Support mission on Sunday, replacing his compatriot Gen. John Nicholson.

Nicholson, who headed the NATO mission for more than two years, has been the longest-serving US general in Afghanistan, where militant-linked violence has spiked in recent months.

At a change-of-command ceremony at the Resolute Support mission headquarters in Kabul, Miller said: “To be successful, we must continually learn and adapt to the enemy and the environment.”

Senior officials including Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, UNAMA head Tadamichi Yamamoto and several ambassadors attended the event.

United States Central Command chief Gen Joseph Votel and former Afghan national security adviser Hanif Atmar were also in attendance.

General Miller 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 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."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "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." He stressed that "NATO remains committed to supporting Afghan security forces as they 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 US-led coalition was in Afghanistan to support the Afghans, the outgoing commander said, adding politics should not be allowed to weaken efforts for peace and reconciliation.

Speaking on the occasion, NSA Mohib paid tribute to the courageous Afghan and NATO soldiers for laying down their lives to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan .

The Afghan government stood shoulder to shoulder with the US and NATO in the fight against the enemies of freedom. “Together we will eliminate the menace of terrorism from Afghanistan and the region.”

The NSA commended Nicholson’s role in helping the Afghan forces mature into a professional force. “I want to assure you that we will continue to build upon your great work.”

United States Army General Austin Scott Miller, NATO-led Resolute Support mission and United States Forces-Afghanistan commander, most recently commanded the Joint Special Operations, Command where he was responsible for global special operations in support of U.S. national defense.

General Miller has extensive experience in counterterrorism operations alongside NATO and regional partners. As a senior military officer, he led the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, where he modernized training for all U.S. Army Infantry and Armor Soldiers.

A career special operations officer, General Miller has commanded U.S. combat formations at every level. General Miller was among the first American Soldiers to deploy to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and later helped create and lead the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Center as a senior leader on the U.S. Joint Staff. Since 2013, General Miller commanded special operations units in Afghanistan, including the NATO Special Operations Command, the Special Operations Joint Task Force and Combined Forces Special Operations Command.

His awards and decorations are illustrative of his combat experience. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star for Valor and the Combat Infantryman Badge with Star.

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