KABUL, AFGHANISTAN News 3's Steve Fullhart and Rachel Cox from KWTX News 10 in Waco are on assignment covering Texans serving in Afghanistan.
III Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley handed over the command of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Saturday in Afghanistan and prepared to head home to Fort Hood.
Milley and the III Corps Command ended a 10-month deployment as the incoming unit and commander stood by to take over.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson took Milley's place along with his unit, the XVIII Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg.
During the transfer of authority ceremony in Kabul, Milley recalled the progress the Afghan security forces have made, and also remembered the deadly day in American history more than a decade ago that launched the invasion into the country.
"It was from this soil, from the training camps in this country that the terrorists came and murdered 3,000 Americans and citizens from other countries, and our purpose hasn't changed one iota from the first day I set foot in this country over a decade ago," Milley said.
As the draw down of American troops continues in Afghanistan, Milley said the work of the Afghan people still continues and was recently shown after the last fighting season when the Afghan security forces came out in the lead against their enemies.
But Milley said the work in the country still needs to be done.
"The way we do that is to build a better future for the society, and the way we've chosen to do that as a nation is to build a security force," Milley said.
Milley also said a sign to the enemies that the Afghan security forces have taken over will happen with a successful presidential election in April. The current Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, is not eligible for re-election.
Milley said while American and NATO forces have offered support past the 2014 deadline, the decision hasn't been made, but is being considered.
"I'm optimistic and confident that sooner or later, the political aspects of that will work itself out, and we'll stay focused on building an Afghan security force, which is really critical," Milley said.