US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller on Sunday said that the US and coalition forces have started the withdrawal process and they will continue to support their Afghan counterparts.

“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde,” Miller told media in Kabul. “The notification day will be the first of May but at the same time as we start taking local actions, we have already begun that.” 

He said that he has “a set of orders” and he has “some very clear objectives.”

“First and foremost, it’s my objective to ensure that the Afghan security forces are in the best possible security posture. Also, that I will – we will – conduct an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan and that means transitioning bases and equipment to the Afghan security forces.

He also said he was “charged with ensuring it is as safe as possible, meaning we will protect the force as we depart from Afghanistan.”

Gen Miller said that the US has “the military means and capability to fully protect our force during retrograde, as well as, support the Afghan security forces.”

“As we retrograde to zero US forces, we will turn over the bases primarily to the Ministry of Defense and other Afghan forces and that’s all bases as we start moving through the retrograde,” he said.

Gen Miller said that they will continue with handing over equipment to their Afghan counterparts.

“There’s certain equipment that we must take back to our countries, that’s a requirement, but wherever possible, if we do not have to, we’re looking to ensure that the Afghan security forces have the bases, pieces of equipment, parts that are necessary for the functioning of the military,” he said.

Gen Miller asked the Taliban to break its ties with al-Qaeda.

“As far as a relationship between al Qaeda and the Taliban, they [Taliban] have to break that relationship. That is something they have committed to and the world expects them to break that relationship and certainly that Afghanistan will never be used as a safe haven for terrorism,” he said.

He rejected the claims that the United States has violated the Doha agreement.

“The Taliban have claimed we’ve violated the agreement and that they have no violations. We know that’s not true. If the Taliban attack the US or any coalition forces, we will have a forceful response if our forces are attacked,” he added. 
Gen Miller said the only reasonable way forward is a political path to peace, otherwise “the violence is senseless.”


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