WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has officially appointed Lieutenant General Austin Scott Miller as commander of the US-led occupying forces in Afghanistan.
The announcement was made in a press release by the US Defense Department, Press TV reported Wednesday.
“Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis has announced that the president has made the following nomination … Army Lt. Gen. Austin S. Miller for appointment to the grade of general, and assignment as commander, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and commander, US Forces-Afghanistan,” the release said.
The Pentagon announced that Miller would replace General John Nicholson, who has been in charge of the US military intervention in Afghanistan since March 2016.
Nicholson said in November last year that the fight in Afghanistan was “still in a stalemate.”
The United States — under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than 16 years, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.
After becoming the president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war — one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.
Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war”. But he has also announced to deploy thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift.
Back in 2014, the US-led occupying forces in Afghanistan officially announced the end of their combat operations in the country, saying they now had a mission to “train, advise, and assist” Afghan troops.
However, the Trump administration last year permitted the deployment of an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, where the US already has 11,000 forces.—NNI