Gen. John Allen on Afghanistan's future
U.S. Commander sits down with Geraldo
- Duration 10:20
- Date Apr 16, 2012
U.S. Commander sits down with Geraldo
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Timing is everything in life again half hour before the shots were fired.
I spoke with the commanding general of the international security assistance forces here in Afghanistan is also the US commander of all our forces in Afghanistan is Marine Corps general John and -- It is an honor to see and I thank you and -- most welcome and might well I appreciate that you very much let's listen and talk.
So you had an interest thing few months is that I have.
It'll be in nine months shortly.
Had a chance to serve with some of the finest troops and oversee how will disheartening.
Is that when you have a good.
Overwhelming majority of those troops.
Doing their duty and behavior being in you know taking the fight to the enemy and -- you have you know these incidents with the Marines urinating on dead Taliban -- the core brands being accidentally.
Such -- -- alleged atrocity how depressing to you person.
Well you answered the question with your questions and -- the truth is there have been tens of thousands.
The US troops come through this theater -- over the period of time we've been in this conflict.
And tens of thousands of the troops from other nations as well and the vast vast majority of them.
Have demonstrated great respect for the faith of Islam.
Creating Green friendships deep friendships and relationships with the Afghan people.
And so while individuals.
And dividends increase setback.
And and they have.
We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that this relationship is founded on individual needs of current.
Tens of thousands settlement I think that's a great success story frankly even though we've had these setbacks I wouldn't call them great acts of relationship is very resilient.
It's been it's been built on the shared adversity -- shared sacrifice.
But years of our forces serving -- on with their options.
And they've been magnificent that that has created a depth of the relationship that has weathered these setbacks.
We've had something like thirteen of our forces killed by Afghan and allied troops or police offices that we've been training.
I mean how can we go forward when you can't trust the very people to -- you wanna give them control.
Let's let's step back and look at the big picture of the big picture is every single day.
American and international forces serve with tens of thousands of Afghan.
And they served together across this -- -- battles case.
They served together in combat served together in training they served together in their day to day lives.
And those tens of thousands of context -- every single day are defined by trust.
Just shared sacrifice.
And and that should be what we should focus -- Incidents today they started we have you know these unfortunate incidents they've done a lot to erode public supported the effort here.
Half of all Americans surveyed now say they wish that the withdrawal to pull out.
From Afghanistan would be accelerated.
I waited until 2014 why not 2030.
This is a campaign.
That is predicated upon.
And agreed upon approach -- approach that would build.
Capability into the Afghan national security forced campaigns there.
And it is successful it is bringing the Afghan security forces into the lead and I think you've seen some of the Afghans.
You know that they have been improving capabilities their morale is high and that you want that responsibility.
I was there -- impressed.
Watching the hour special forces our special operators.
Training the Afghan local police your new initiative.
It was something that was very impressive -- -- indeed if there's a future here that's where this the idea the concept is that village leaders.
Who who unite.
In a mobilization.
Of their for their own security.
We'll ask us for.
And our special operators will then organize the sons of that village to provide security so it is.
Fully Afghan -- And fully Afghan implement -- you -- -- -- and the frustration.
And the feeling among Americans that there is a lack of gratitude among the Afghan.
It's for our enormous effort on their behalf.
Well I don't agree with that and I think all Americans should have the chance to talk of the Afghan population here.
An Afghan population has gone through thirty years of -- -- -- Most recently through the darkness of the -- Where the rights of virtually every Afghan in particular the women and minorities trod on.
You you run into the Afghans in the village you talked to the Afghans in the towns -- in the cities.
You talked to the Afghans in the Afghan national security forces and they understand where they work.
-- they understand where they have been.
They also know where they are and where they are today a free people with the free.
With educational opportunities it could not have imagined and when you talk to an Afghan.
I'm frequently -- immediately.
For the sacrifices of the American people for the blood that has been spilled by the American people by the international community on their head for the treasure that distance that.
I don't believe for a second that the Afghans or not.
Grateful for the sacrifice what you -- again for the frustration and we killed Osama bin Laden that's what we came here before we killed al-Qaeda.
That's what we came here for.
Nation building -- and when you're speaking about now -- the the the purpose of much of what we're doing here.
Beyond from preventing al-Qaeda from ever.
-- establishing a safe haven enough -- Is to prevent the telephone from overthrowing this government and once again providing a platform from which international terrorists can victimize the United States.
Or any of our allies we're not trying to reshape this -- We're trying to put.
In the key aspects.
Of the security forces and it's thirty minutes from fifteen.
Which can provide that impetus and the opportunity.
-- -- -- ultimately to stand on its own two feet the Smart money among the pundits I don't consider myself one.
Is that once we withdraw.
The Taliban will take over the countryside the rural areas and the government will keep the big cities in the major roads and it might.
Kind of cascade back toward that ugly civil war that existed in the days before nine elevenths I don't think that's gonna happen and it.
Wish we should all be attentive to what's happening.
The United States is engaged in conversation with the Afghan government.
For the negotiation -- strategic partnership agreement.
NATO is engaged with the Afghan government to determine the long term strategic relationship.
That two of those documents plus other bilateral.
Arrangements with the Afghans the UK.
France Italy and others.
The combination of all of those agreements and documents means that the the international community is not leave.
Welcome to -- in the words of Senator McCain when he was grilling you in Washington we're not going to abandon Afghanistan again we're not going that.
That is a blow to the temple to blow to their -- they'll just have their way with the us government with the people once again in the aftermath.
It's a blow to them it's a message of reassurance you -- -- the Afghan government as a message of stability in the region.
And it's a message of international commitment.
What about the rap that Afghanistan is a failed narco state that.
-- -- -- is propping up a corrupt government that's a bunch of drug dealing self serving.
-- on the.
Blanks Afghanistan didn't find itself.
Where it is today last Tuesday.
And it's not gonna solve all those problems by next.
What I will say is that the minister for counter narcotics in this country has a campaign plan.
We're beginning to see that campaign plan and Begin to come together and coherent way.
We have conducted operations aboard of that campaign plan we've got an operations.
Reduce their grip corruption.
In this country.
But it's it's just an institution that we're going to have to chip away at over time.
The market place here in Kabul for instance.
Yet developments that are half done and no more work is happening.
Yet the prices of the condos.
-- going from a million dollars down 200000 dollars they're -- that things will not.
Be better after we leave they gonna get worse after -- -- Money is about courage.
And if you have the courage to invest money you want some predictability about what will come back to you again.
Part I think.
What you see.
Is a symptom.
On the streets of an uncertainty about the future that is about creating.
Certainly it's about creating up optimism I'm not a wild eyed optimist.
But I'm encouraged frankly by the strong strategic messages.
That are being directed Afghanistan today and that the strong potential that Afghanistan has to have a credible economy do you long for the.
Days when war fighting was just.
The Marines have landed.
-- they and that's -- the as the bad guy that was the end of it the warriors job was over I'm honored to.
-- -- so Trulia and I'm not so sure war was never as simple as people would like to remembered -- being.
It's always been complicated it is always required.
Measures of diplomacy and political awareness and sense of the economy.
And understanding of the the human factors associated with your own troops and those with whom you seek to save final.
Aren't you heartened by the fact that even though Americans want us that a -- yesterday they were so supportive of your efforts the men and women in uniform.
The American people have been magnificent magnificent and -- support magnificent in their generosity.
Magnificent and the courage to to support us this long campaign.
We -- together us.