US Soldier Afghanistan Anon Helicopter Jalalabad DVIDS
Afghanistan

Longest-Serving US Commander In Afghanistan: 'History Will Judge' Coalition's Success

General Scott Miller also told the BBC he expects Taliban violence to worsen after the Eid ceasefire.

US Soldier Afghanistan Anon Helicopter Jalalabad DVIDS

America's longest-serving commander in Afghanistan has said "history will judge" the success of coalition forces' presence in the country.

It comes as US and NATO forces continue their withdrawal from the country, which started on 1 May.

Coalition troops, including British personnel, have had a presence in Afghanistan since 2001.

General Scott Miller told the BBC the withdrawal must also ensure the Afghan security forces are capable of continuing without the US-led NATO presence.

"As we withdraw the force, we have a set of military orders, there's some military tasks, but I don't want anybody to think that there's also not an emotional piece of this," he said.

"Our obligations are wanting to make sure our force is protected and that we're able to withdraw coalition forces as safely and as orderly as possible.

"And at the same time, ensure that we leave our Afghan security partners in a position that they are able to pick this up and carry it on.

"And that's, you know, again, an obligation that we feel, not just for the security forces, but also the people of Afghanistan."

The Pentagon recently sent additional troops and capabilities to the region to increase security for the withdrawal.

The target for the US troop withdrawal is 11 September – 20 years on from the 9/11 attacks (file photo) (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Gen Miller said the US would continue to support Afghan forces in the final stages of the withdrawal and expects Taliban violence to worsen.

"We're watching closely what the Taliban will do, post the Eid ceasefire," he told the BBC.

"Ideally, they would continue with the reduced violence because it is something that the Afghan people want.

"But the expectation is that they will pick up violence in the nearer term.

"The Afghan security forces have the capabilities, and they have to hold. 

"That is where we are right now."

Last week it was announced the US handed over a facility to the Afghan Army and that airlifters had flown out the equivalent of 104 C-17 transport aircraft's worth of materials.

America is hoping to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by 11 September - the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. 

NATO said it was aiming to complete its withdrawal "within a few months".

British troops, in the country in a training role as part of a NATO mission, are part of the drawdown. 

Cover image: Library photo of a US service member in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense).