While the war in Afghanistan is winding down, it is by no means over, said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood.
“I would say the conditions are set for winning this war, but it is not yet won and it is not yet over,” said Milley, who is deployed with the Phantom Corps to Kabul, Afghanistan, serving as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command since May. As the second in command, he oversees NATO operations across the country.
On Wednesday morning, Milley spoke with reporters about the current conditions in Afghanistan and answered questions about anticipated end-of-combat operations in 2014.
Afghan National Security Forces took the lead in this summer’s fighting season, conducting about 90 percent of operations. Americans and their allies still provide support and guidance, said Milley, who is on his third tour to the country. About 1,000 patrols are conducted daily.
‘Different fight today’
“It’s a different fight today than what I saw before,” he said. “The enemy I’ve seen this tour is quantitatively and qualitatively different.”
This year, the Taliban has been able to accomplish suicide bombings, intimidation tactics and small-arms attacks, as seen in Ghazni last week in a “complex” attack where Taliban infiltrated a NATO base, killing one American soldier.
“What they can’t do is provide an alternate form of government,” Milley said. “All they can do and all they’ve been doing this year is terrorizing people.
“Right now 68 percent of the country is under the age of 25. That population is getting educated. In a very short amount of time, they will come into positions of significant power in this country and I think the days of the Taliban will be behind them,” Milley continued. “They are clearly and unambiguously rejecting the Taliban.”
Read more of what Milley had to say in Wednesday’s Fort Hood Herald.
Fort Hood has about 4,500 soldiers in Afghanistan from the following units:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps
- 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
- Elements of the 11th Signal Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, 1st Medical Brigade, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 36th Engineer Brigade and 89th Military Police Brigade.