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US General Miller transfers command in Afghanistan to USCENTCOM chief

The Pentagon announced on 12 July that the authority over the United States' ongoing counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan has transitioned from US Army General Scott Miller, who commanded US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) as well as the ‘Resolute Support' mission, to US Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (USCENTCOM).

Speaking to reporters Pentagon spokesperson John F Kirby said that both Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Gen McKenzie expressed their thanks to Gen Miller and his team for “their diligent execution of the retrograde of millions of tons of equipment [and] thousands of personnel, all conducted with great efficiency and without a single casualty”.

Kirby described the transition of authority as “just a milestone” in the ongoing US drawdown. In this regard he noted that until the US is completely out of Afghanistan, the mission will continue to focus on protecting the US diplomatic presence in the country, enabling the safe operation of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, continuing to provide advice and assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and supporting counter-terrorism efforts.

Kirby emphasised that throughout the drawdown, which is expected to be completed by the end of August, the US will continue to ensure the airport remains safe.

“We have had for quite some time some troops dedicated to security at the [Kabul] airport,” Kirby was quoted in a Pentagon news release as saying, adding that there are “some defensive capabilities”, including “an aviation support element” there.

The spokesperson also confirmed that long-term security at the airport will be handled by Turkey following the US pullout.

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