New US army general assumes NATO mission in Afghanistan
Miller, former commander of the US military's Joint Special Operations Command, takes over at a time when Washington is facing growing questions over its strategy to force the Taliban into talks to end the 17-year conflict.
"To be successful, we must continually learn and adapt to the enemy and the environment," Miller said at a change of command ceremony at the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul.
"There is no room for the status quo. We cannot afford to be complacent."
The @NATO-led Resolute Support mission and @USFOR_A welcomes U.S. Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller who assumed command today from outgoing commander U.S. Army Gen. John W. Nicholson in Kabul, #Afghanistan.— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) September 2, 2018
Almost a decade later, he served during the "surge" ordered by President Barack Obama, which saw more than 100,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan in a bid to crush the insurgency, as well as in 2013-14 as most international troops were withdrawn.
The United States is now a year into its strategy of stepping up pressure on the Taliban by increasing airstrikes and sending thousands of more troops to train and advise Afghan forces, but clear signs of success have so far proved elusive.
Civilian casualties are running at record levels, there have been repeated attacks on major cities such as Kabul and Jalalabad and while the Taliban have not managed to take any major urban centers, they control large areas of the countryside.
In June, a report by the Pentagon's Lead Inspector General offered a downbeat view, saying there was little publicly available evidence that "actions to increase pressure on the Taliban were having a significant impact."
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