Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, nominated to take over US military operations in Afghanistan, on Tuesday warned senators that if America pulls out its troops too quickly, there is a risk Daesh could merge with al-Qaeda and plan attacks against the US or its allies.
Miller, who heads the US Joint Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, if appointed, he'll reassess the troop numbers in Afghanistan to see if the force size is right.
According to him any abrupt US withdrawal could trigger consequences similar to what happened in Iraq in 2015 – where the Iraqi military collapsed and many forces ran or surrendered to Daesh.
"A disorderly and precipitous withdrawal would have negative effects on US national security," Miller said.
"I would be concerned about ISIS (Daesh) and al-Qaeda's ability to merge and project external operations — one, because I know they want to, and I know they're constantly looking for that opportunity."
AP meanwhile reported that Miller is expected to be easily approved by the Senate to take control of a war that has dragged on for 17 years and led to frustration and pointed questions about America's path to success in Afghanistan.
Miller also raised the issue of Pakistan and said the US needs to eliminate safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan if it is to succeed in Afghanistan.
Safe havens in Pakistan make it “infinitely more difficult” for the US to secure its national interests, Miller said.
“We have to squeeze out safe havens if we’re going to be successful here,” he said adding that Pakistan must be part of the solution in Afghanistan, not just diplomatically but also from a security perspective.
“We should have high expectations that they are part of the solution,” he said.
Miller is expected to officially replace Gen. John Nicholson in the next few weeks as US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.