KABUL, AFGHANISTAN —
The highest U.S. commander in Afghanistan relinquished his command at a ceremony within the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, taking the US a step nearer to ending its 20-year conflict. The transfer got here as Taliban insurgents proceed to realize territory throughout the nation.
One other four-star normal will assume authority from his U.S. publish to conduct doable airstrikes in protection of Afghan authorities forces, no less than till the U.S. withdrawal concludes by Aug. 31.
Gen. Scott Miller, who has served as America’s high commander in Afghanistan since 2018, handed over command of what has turn out to be referred to as America’s `ceaselessly conflict’ in its waning days to Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the pinnacle of U.S. Central Command. McKenzie will function from Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida.
The handover befell within the closely fortified Resolute Help headquarters within the coronary heart of Kabul, at a time of fast territorial positive factors by Taliban insurgents throughout Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan Nationwide Protection and Safety Forces, principally funded by the US and NATO, have put up resistance in some elements of the nation, however overwhelmingly Afghan authorities troops seem to have deserted the battle.
In latest weeks, the Taliban have gained a number of strategic districts, notably alongside the borders with Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The Taliban management greater than one-third of Afghanistan’s 421 districts and district facilities. A Taliban declare that they management 85 p.c of the districts is broadly seen as exaggerated.
After Miller’s departure, a two-star admiral primarily based on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will oversee the U.S. navy’s position in securing the American diplomatic presence in Kabul, together with defending the Kabul airport.
Miller’s departure doesn’t cut back the scope of the U.S. navy mission in Afghanistan, since McKenzie will assume the authorities now held by Miller to conduct airstrikes in protection of Afghan authorities forces beneath sure circumstances. The situations beneath which such strikes may be used will not be clear, neither is it recognized for a way lengthy McKenzie will preserve the strike authority.
A deal the U.S. struck with the Taliban in February 2020 included a promise from the rebel motion to not assault U.S. and NATO troops, a dedication it seems they’ve largely stored.
Whereas Washington is just not saying what number of troops stay in Afghanistan, a CENTCOM assertion greater than every week in the past stated the withdrawal was 90 p.c full.
President Joe Biden has reiterated that the U.S. will stay engaged in Afghanistan with humanitarian help. The U.S. is also dedicated to spending $4.4 billion yearly to fund Afghanistan’s safety forces till 2024.