As the last U.S. forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of fighting, the American commander says he is worried about the territorial advance of Taliban insurgents attempting to take back control of the country.
U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” show, said the Taliban is “gaining strength.”
“We should be concerned,” he said. “The loss of terrain is concerning.”
For the Afghans trying to maintain control, he said, “Hope matters. Morale matters.”
“I don’t like leaving friends in need,” Miller said as he oversaw the last U.S. troops leaving the mammoth Bagram Airfield this past week.
“You look at the security situation and it’s not good.” he said. “The Taliban is on the move.”
The Taliban have captured more 100 districts since early May.
U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. troop withdrawal, a position also favored by former President Donald Trump before he left office in January.
In April, Biden announced, “It is time to end the forever war” in Afghanistan, saying that the United States had accomplished its stated goal of denying terrorists a haven in the country.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to combat al-Qaida terrorists who had been training there in advance of their September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon outside Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Miller said there were “judgments” that had to be made about the withdrawal. He said there were U.S. victories in the Afghan fighting, even as 2,300 U.S. troops were killed over two decades.
But he also said, “The amount of self-reflection [about the U.S. military performance in Afghanistan] will be important.”