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Tuesday 20th March 2018

New General Takes Command of Nato in Afghanistan


7Dnews London

Mon, 03 Sep 2018 13:03 GMT

The 41-nation Nato mission in Afghanistan has a new commanding officer. He was handed control of the mission during a handover ceremony on Sunday.

US Army General Austin Scott Miller has assumed command of the mission.

Prior to Miller taking command, Gen John Nicholson was the man in charge, holding the position for more than two years. The handover ceremony took place at the Nato headquarters in Kabul and was attended by senior Afghanistan officials and foreign ambassadors.

Currently, forces in Afghanistan are struggling to contain the attacks from an increasingly active and powerful Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate. Despite the Taliban losing control of several districts across the country both insurgent groups have launched a renewed and relentless series of attacks in recent months. 

"The world recognises Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for terrorism. The world recognises that we cannot fail. I know this has been a long fight and it has been generations for us, for the Afghan people," said Miller, who most recently led the Joint Special Operations Command. 

Nicholson, as the outgoing general, asked the Taliban leadership to accept the government's offer of a cease-fire and renewed peace negotiations. "You do not need to keep killing your fellow Afghans," he said. 

According to AP, the Nato mission has been operating in Afghanistan for nearly 17 years. It began with the US-led invasion that removed the Taliban from power following the nine-eleven 2001 attacks in the USA. 

Both the US and Nato formally ended their combat mission in 2014 but still routinely come to the aid of the Afghan forces.