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Pentagon Reported Ready To Name New U.S. Commander In Afghanistan


Army General John Nicholson is expected to step down soon as U.S. commander in Afghanistan. (file photo)

A career special operations soldier has been chosen as the next commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, media reported on May 23, citing U.S. officials.

The expected nominee, Army Lieutenant General Scott Miller, would succeed Army General John Nicholson, who has held the post since March 2016, AP, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal reported.

The promotion of Miller requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Miller is currently in command of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command, which conducts some of the military's most sensitive commando missions around the world.

He served as head of the special operations contingent in Afghanistan in 2013-14 and completed combat tours in Iraq and Somalia.

Miller has expertise in addressing global militant networks, which could be valuable in the fight against emerging Islamic State affiliates in Afghanistan, officials said.

Nicholson is expected to serve through most of the summer months that historically have brought some of the heaviest fighting in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the reports.

U.S. President Donald Trump took office last year expressing skepticism about the Afghan war, and even advocating withdrawal. But faced with the threat posed by the Taliban, he reversed his position and last August approved a more aggressive war strategy that Nicholson has led, with mixed results.

A U.S. government watchdog report released on May 21 said there had been few signs of significant progress by Afghan security forces since the strategy was instituted in August, despite Nicholson's assertion last fall that they had "turned the corner" and gained momentum in the war against the Taliban.

More than 2,400 U.S. military personnel and many thousands more Afghans have died in the 17-year war.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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