Christopher Miller said the US is committed to defeating al-Qaeda and is “on the verge of defeating” the group.
Miller was appointed as acting defense secretary by US President Donald Trump on Monday.
He said in a memo to his department that the US is committed to defeating al-Qaeda and is “on the verge of defeating” the group.
“Many are weary of war – I’m one of them,” he wrote in the message posted on the US Defense Department website on Saturday. “But this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role.”
Miller said, “Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”
Trump has been pushing for the withdrawal of his troops from Afghanistan by Christmas during his campaign.
The United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29 and agreed on the gradual withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. But Trump last month said the troops should be home by Christmas.
The new Pentagon chief did not mention specific US troop deployments, but the reference to al-Qaeda appeared to single out Afghanistan and Iraq, where US troops were deployed after the September 11 attacks.
The concerns about an early withdrawal from Afghanistan comes as violence has remained high in the country despite efforts to resume peace negotiations in Doha.
The Washington Post reported that former US defense secretary Mark Esper after consulting with senior military officers, sent a classified memo to the White House this month expressing concerns about additional cuts.