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Change of command

September 03, 2018

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KABUL: US Army Gen Austin Scott Miller assumed command of the 41-nation Nato mission in Afghanistan in a handover ceremony held on Sunday.

Gen Miller took over from Gen John Nicholson, who held the post for more than two years, at a ceremony at the Nato headquarters in Kabul, attended by senior Afghan officials and foreign ambassadors.

The handover comes as Afghan forces are struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban and an increasingly powerful affiliate of the militant Islamic State group. The Taliban control several districts across Afghanistan, and both groups have launched a relentless wave 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 Gen Miller, who most recently led the Joint Special Operations Command.

Gen Nicholson called on the Taliban to accept the government’s offer of a ceasefire and renewed peace negotiations, saying “you don’t need to keep killing your fellow Afghans”.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018