Interview with Gen. John Nicholson

Interview with Gen. John Nicholson


In this video, Commander of American & NATO Forces in Afghanistan from 2016 to 2018, Gen. John Nicholson, shares how in his last year in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump announced a "new" strategy for his country's forces in Afghanistan. The plan involved reversing his predecessor's phased withdrawal, bumping up the number of US troops to as many as 15,000, and giving new authority to US commanders to strike the Taliban in an effort to force the group to eventually negotiate a truce with the Afghan government. But almost 17 years since the original US-led invasion, there are no signs that this approach is proving any more successful than those that have gone before it. Indeed, a string of brutal attacks over the past few months, killing and injuring hundreds of innocent Afghans, have shown the stark reality of the fragile and worsening state of security in Afghanistan. It's made even worse by the increasingly bloody contribution of Daesh (or ISIS-K as it's known locally) to the fray. General John Nicholson is the man charged with implementing Trump's strategy. He is the "Four Star" controlling Resolute Support and counter-terrorism in the region, and after his appeals to the US Senate for more troops, fresh boots on the ground began arriving in 2017. But under his watch the general has also seen an emboldened insurgency take control of large parts of the country and launch attacks seemingly at will. 

General John Nicholson is a United States Army four-star general (retired) widely admired as a uniquely-skilled “warrior-diplomat’. He completed his term as Commander of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support mission in September 2018, as the longest-serving commander in the Afghan theatre of war. His leadership, deep experience and close relationships with Afghan leaders were key to brokering the first nationwide ceasefire in the 17-year war and helped launch the peace initiative now underway. In reporting on the Afghan war, NPR said of Nicholson, “Maybe no American soldier knows this battleground better than Army General John Nicholson.”

Commander of American & NATO Forces in Afghanistan 2016-2018

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Revered as a uniquely-skilled “warrior-diplomat,” General John Nicholson retired in September 2018 from his post as Commander of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support mission. In this role, Gen. Nicholson led a 41-nation coalition war effort. The longest serving Commander of the Afghan war, he oversaw a $46.3 billion budget and roughly 14,000 international troops. A combat-seasoned military legend, he discusses coalition building, strengthening culture through collaboration, leadership, geopolitics, and organizational success in the 21st century.