Lieutenant General Austin “Scott” Miller, whose heroism inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down,” said today that a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the reappearance of terrorism, during his confirmation hearing as commander of the international mission in this country. .
The military is chosen by the White House to lead the international coalition led by Washington that fights jihadism in Afghanistan.
After more than seventeen years of conflict, which makes the Afghan war the longest in which the Army has participated, the objective of the White House is the departure of its troops.
However, Miller warned, a retreat ahead of time will only lead to the terrorist threat reappearing over time.
“If we leave too soon there will be a real threat in Afghanistan,” the officer said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In case of receiving the approval of the Senate, Miller will begin his 57 years which will be his fourth mission in the Asian country.
The lieutenant general, who began his military career after graduating from the prestigious military academy of West Point in 1983, has extensive military experience, mainly as a member of the special forces.
It was precisely as a member of the elite body of the Delta Force when he led 25 years ago the mission that not only earned him fame, but earned him the recognition of Washington, as evidenced by the Bronze Star with which he was decorated .
The events took place in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, when two US helicopters, involved in an operation to capture a pair of lieutenants of a local warlord, were shot down by enemy fire.
Although the Somali contingent was far superior in number, Miller led an operation that allowed the troops to be rescued after being parapeted for a few hours. The balance of the battle: 18 Americans killed and 73 wounded, among them, Miller himself.
Afghanistan goes back to 2001, when it was part of the first forces that went there to fight the terrorist group Al Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.
Things have changed a lot in that country since then.
The United States no longer fights alone, but leads a coalition that, under the protection of NATO, fights in the framework of the operation “Resolute Support” (Support Determined), an alliance that some in Washington, as it was confirmed today in the Senate, they fear that it is shaken by the isolationist policy of President Donald Trump.
The Lieutenant General acknowledged the legitimacy of such concerns, so he assured that one of his “main objectives” as leader of the coalition will be to guarantee the “cohesion” of the alliance troops.
However, the most significant changes, in fact, have occurred in the country itself and in the strategy of Washington in the face of this conflict, based since last August on reducing the American presence in the region through collaboration with local forces. and to end artificial deadlines.
“Seventeen years is a long time, taking into account the strategy, our main interest is to end the threat to the citizens of the United States and our allies, which emanates specifically from the Islamic State and Al Qaeda,” said Miller.
The soldier assured that the current policy of “training, advice and assistance” of the Afghan forces is working and that, therefore, “will serve to illuminate the way” of the mission under his leadership.
Also, Miller stressed the importance of the other great change that has occurred in the conflict in recent times, the recent temporary ceasefire on the occasion of Eid al Fitr, the party that marks the end of Ramadan.
“Anything that reduces violence, even if only temporarily, is positive … What we saw last week opens the way to a political solution, whether through reconciliation or political readjustment,” he said. .