News   Defense News

Miller Transfers Command in Afghanistan to McKenzie

July 12, 2021 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

Army Gen. Austin S. Miller transferred responsibility for U.S. Forces Afghanistan to Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie in a ceremony in Kabul today.

McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, praised Miller as "the right leader at the right time" and reassured Afghans of America's continued support.

Two men pass a flag.
Passing the Flag
Army Gen. Austin S. Miller passes the flag of U.S. Forces Afghanistan to Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie during a ceremony in Kabul July 12, 2021.
Photo By: USFORA
VIRIN: 210712-F-CQ002-9006

Miller has served as the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support Mission since September 2018. He is the man who implemented the decision to retrograde U.S. and NATO forces from the country.

McKenzie also praised Miller for how he has handled the withdrawal. The general orchestrated moving millions of tons of equipment and thousands of personnel. All of this was done safely, swiftly and sensibly. At the same time, Miller continued advising and assisting Afghan National Security Forces.

Miller spoke after transitioning command over to McKenzie. "It is important that the military sides set the conditions for a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan," he said. "We can all see the violence that is taking place across the country. But we know that with that violence, what is difficult to achieve is that settlement. What I tell the Taliban is they are responsible, too. The violence that is going on is against the will of the Afghan people. It needs to stop."

McKenzie said the ceremony is not "the end of the story, it is rather the end of a chapter." 

Two men meet near a mud wall.
Commander Meeting
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, right, meets with Army Gen. Austin S. Miller, Resolute Support Mission commander, left, during a visit to Kabul in April 2019. Miller transferred command and authorities to McKenzie, July 12, 2021.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Franklin Moore
VIRIN: 190405-A-OO646-008

The Centcom commander said he will remain focused on four things, with the first being to protect U.S. diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. He will also look to enable the safe operation of the airport in Kabul. He will continue to provide appropriate advice and assistance to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Finally, he will support counterterrorism efforts.

Following the transition, McKenzie met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.