The United States military has begun its complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, the top US commander there said on Sunday, marking what amounts to the beginning of the end of the United States’ nearly 20-year-old war in the country.
“I now have a set of orders. We will conduct an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that means transitioning bases and equipment to the Afghan security forces,” said General Austin S Miller, the head of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, to a news conference of Afghan journalists at the US military’s headquarters in Kabul.
Miller’s remarks come two weeks after President Joe Biden announced that all US forces would be out of the country by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that pushed the US into its long war in Afghanistan.
“I often get asked how are the security forces? Can the security forces do the work in our absence?” Miller said. “And my message has always been the same: They must be ready.”
“We have the military means and capability to fully protect our force during retrograde, as well as support the Afghan security forces,” Miller said.