During a web briefing on progress in Afghanistan at the Pentagon Wednesday morning, Fort Hood's Commanding General said Afghan partners have almost completely taken the reins.
Lieutenant General Mark Milley commands the International Assistance Force Joint Command there, as our military gets ready to move out next year.
He left Texas in May to take on the role during the shift to the U.S. military's new training, advising and assisting role.
"For the most part, and well in excess of 90 percent, the Afghan security forces have completely taken the lead in this fight," Milley told reporters Wednesday.
He applauded Afghan National Security Forces, as they come out of their first fighting season in the driver's seat.
General Milley says the Taliban is not going away, but that progress in education, communication and security are working against it.
"I do not think at this point in time that with the strength and capability of the Afghan security forces, that the Taliban or any of their allies have the power to re-seize power," said Milley.
General Milley is the Commanding General of Fort Hood, an installation that has deployed more soldiers than any other, and some of those soldiers are proud to hear about that progress in Afghanistan.
SPC Ricky Wilson has deployed twice and says, "I feel accomplished, because the same thing happened in Iraq, we gave them back what's theirs, and they're taking it, and they're running with it, so it feels good to hear that the same progress is going on in Afghanistan.
Amid 12 years of deployments and loss, families are relieved and hopeful the December 2014 end appears to be on track.
"It would be nice to have all of our boys home for at least a little while, you know not having to worry about family members, or my husband having to possibly go over there, and just kind of maybe having some peace for a little while," Army wife Amanda Knight said.
General Milley says there is anxiety in Afghanistan over what will happen after the drawdown.
"I think the sooner various leaders define what with a degree of certainty, the better it will be for the future of the Afghan government and the future of the Afghan people," said Milley.
He says the fighting will surely continue long after we're gone, but that Afghan security forces can handle it.
The Afghan army has gone from zero to 350 thousand personnel in the past decade.
Milley estimates armed combatants stand anywhere from 10- to 25-thousand, but says it's a very difficult number to measure.
Reporter: Sophia Stamas firstname.lastname@example.org
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