A more aggressive approach toward combating the Taliban has been implemented to respond to massive casualties among the Afghan Security Forces, according to Gen. Scott Miller, commander of NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
“We are more in an offensive mindset and don’t wait for the Taliban to come and hit [us],” Miller said in an interview with NBC News in Kabul, Afghanistan. “So that was an adjustment that we made early on. We needed to because of the amount of casualties that were being absorbed.”
Under Miller’s leadership, troops advising Afghan forces have been given more autonomy so they can mobilize more efficiently on the battlefields when necessary.
The Pentagon reports that there were more than 1,000 casualties of Afghan forces in August and September, but Miller claimed the numbers are down since a more forceful approach with the Taliban was adopted.
“None of this is risk-free,” Miller said. “They take casualties, but the casualties are much less when they’re moving against the Taliban.”
Miller, who became the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan in September, said he has been surprised by the amount of Taliban fighters willing to discuss potential settlement, but noted that he still has a “pragmatic” outlook on a possible agreement with the Taliban.
“I see paths, some of them are risk-filled,” Miller said. “So rather than optimistic, I say pragmatic.”
According to Miller, resolving the conflict in Afghanistan will not only require a military victory, but also a “political solution.”
“This is not going to be won militarily, this is going to a political solution,” Miller said.
“My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily,” Miller said. “So if you realize you can’t win militarily, at some point, fighting is just, people start asking why. So you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict.”