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People taking photos with Gen. Austin Miller in Kabul in February 2020. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Army Gen. Austin Miller, who has led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan since 2018, relinquished his command during a ceremony in Kabul on Monday.

Why it matters: It's a symbolic moment in the drawdown of the U.S. military's involvement in Afghanistan and another major milestone in President Biden's goal of formally ending the mission there on Aug. 31.

Driving the news: Miller, who led forces in Afghanistan longer than any other general in the position, turned over command to Marine Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, who heads U.S. Central Command in Florida.

  • McKenzie will retain the ability to authorize airstrikes against the Taliban through Aug. 31, according to Reuters. After that, the U.S. focus will shift entirely to counterterrorism operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda.
  • Miller is expected to retire, defense officials told NBC News.

The big picture: The U.S. has almost completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, though the departure has coincided with large territorial gains by the Taliban and a sharp increase in violence.

  • Biden defended the exit during an address last week, saying it was not inevitable that the Afghan government would collapse and the Taliban would take over Kabul.
  • The president also stressed that the U.S. will continue to support the Afghan government after its withdrawal and will still help to promote human rights in the country.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.