Transcript for June 18, 2013: Ending America's Longest War
tonight. We turn now to a milestone in america's longest war. Today n.A.T.O. Troops in afghanistan officially passed the baton to afghan forces. Now they will take the lead on security for the first time in 12 years. That handoff was met by word that the taliban is ready to talk about making peace. Our team is standing by to analyze the impact and we begin on the ground in afghanistan with muhammad lila. Reporter: Under the heat fo the afghan sun -- okay, let's go. Reporter: We trekked through mud and streams. Deep into taliban territory. We're now walking into the village. There are soldiers in front of me, soldiers behind me. All to make sure we reach there safely. We started the day in a convey, the mission, enter a remote village known to support the taliban and leading the convey up in front, take a closer look. It's not americans but afghans that are in charge. Whatever you tell us to do we'll do it. Before americans would go in and forgive my english but kick some ass. That's not the case. We will follow the orders of the afghan army, absolutely. Change. It's a good complaining. Reporter: After 12 years american troops are taking a back seat. Over the past five years afghanistan's own security forces have grown from 50,000 to more than 350,000. As of today its afghan soldiers and police officers who are in charge of protecting their own country. Today was really in my mind a very significant day for the people of afghanistan. The afghans have assumed the lead for security responsibility. Reporter: Today after the battle field another victory, the taliban announcing a new office in qatar. We may have walked into a bit of an ambush. Another sign the war is winding down. Last year we found afghans disorganized and unprepared, in the end needing american support to bail them out. Today that same army is far more disciplined with its own heavy weapons and radios. On this mission they had no problems securing the village on their own, one american commander feeling so safe he took off his armor. I have to make sure they understand I trust them as much as they're supposed to trust me. Reporter: On the way out with the mission accomplished, we headed back to base. With american troops one step closer to being home. Muhammad lila, abc news, eastern afghanistan. Now let's get more on what this means from chief global affairs correspondent martha ratd at and john thon carl. This seems to be big news on a big day. They say they're going to talk peace, they won't use afghanistan as a launching ground for attacks across boarders but how is the president seeing this? The president himself called this an important first step but the white house is under into illusion that talking to the taliban is going to lead to a break through. It's significant that they're talking and they're admitting that they're talking. The white house officials said they don't expect the talks to result in the reduction of the level of violence any time soon and even after the taliban said they would be talking, a taliban spokesman said they would continue to attacks u.S. Targets in afghanistan. This may be a significant development but peace is not at hand. Martha, is this unlikely to change the military's end game, how quickly troops can come home and how many will stay behind? Well, george, we are committed to having u.S. Troops here 32,000 troops in afghanistan until february of year. We have to keep 32,000 there. But they could draw down more quickly if, say, those negotiations did go better than we thought. Meantime, martha, you're in jordan where we're seeing a little more of a u.S. Military buildup in anticipation of a possible intervention in syria? Yes. There are exercises going on right now about 6,000 americans involved in those military exercises. They happen every year, but this year it's different. We are leaving behind a patriot MISSILE BATTERY AND SIX 516s. They say they're for defensive measures but this is a show of force. As you know, nothing has worked in sorry ya. Before we leave, one more image from the president's trip.
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