Miller confirms withdrawal process in Afghanistan is underway

US-Forces commander in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller said Sunday the evacuation of some bases has already started in Afghanistan.

“We will turn over the bases primarily to the Ministry of Defense and other Afghan forces,” Miller told reporters in a press conference in Kabul on Sunday, adding that: “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”.

The US is expected to hand over three military bases and one airport to the Afghan forces in the next two weeks as part of the US plan for the full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, sources said last week.

According to a security source, the bases concerned are the Kandahar airport, Camp Shorabak (formerly Camp Bastion) in Helmand, Camp Eggers in Kabul, and the COP (Dash Towp) in Chak district of Maidan Wardak.

Miller meanwhile said that if Afghanistan reached a peace agreement, we would still to leave Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, CIA Director William Burns reportedly made a surprise visit to Kabul this week to discuss the withdrawal process with Afghan officials.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that two credible sources had confirmed the visit. In Washington, the CIA declined to comment when asked by AP about the director’s schedule and the agency’s role in Afghanistan.

On Taliban relation with Al-Qaeda Miller said that: “Taliban still have link to al-Qaeda.”

He also expressed concern about the escalation of violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“Violence from the Taliban is still high and this is having a negative impacts on the peace process, and if the violence escalates after the withdrawal, it will be dangerous for the whole region,” Miller said.

Miller says the only reasonable way forward is a political path to peace, otherwise “the violence is senseless,” he says.

The Taliban have intensified clashes across the country as the foreign troops are getting ready to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The Defense Ministry, however, claimed that the group has been defeated on the battlefield.
Miller says he has “a set of orders” and “very clear objectives.” “First and foremost, it’s my objective to ensure that the Afghan security forces are in the best possible security posture,” he says.

He also said that they would support the Afghan forces remotely if needed.

“We have the capacity to support Afghan forces remotely,” Miller said.

His comments comes after the head of U.S. forces in the Middle East said on Thursday that he was concerned about the ability of the Afghan security forces to hold territory after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country in the coming months.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States will withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America’s longest war.