U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has predicted that American troops, already in Afghanistan for 18 years, would remain in the country “for several more years.”

“I think we have to go back to the original reason why we are in Afghanistan to begin with, which is 9/11,” said Milley said on ABC’s “This Week" on November 10.  “We went there to order to make sure that Afghanistan never again would be a haven, a safe haven for terrorists that would attack the United States. That mission is not yet complete.

“In order for that mission to be successful, the government of Afghanistan, the Afghan security forces, are going to have to be able to sustain their own internal security to prevent terrorists from using their territory to attack other countries, especially the United States,” he added.

“That effort is ongoing,” Milley told ABC.  “It has been ongoing for 18 consecutive years. I suspect it will be ongoing into the future for several more years.”

According to some sources, there are some 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as well as thousands of European forces participating in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is, by U.S. law, the highest-ranking and senior-most military officer in the United States Armed Forces and is the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.  

The Chairman convenes the meetings and coordinates the efforts of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), an advisory body within the Department of Defense comprising the Chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.  

The Chairman may also transmit communications to the combatant commanders from the President and Secretary of Defense as well as allocate additional funding to the combatant commanders if necessary.