One-on-one with top US war commander

Ian Pannell sits down with Gen. John Nicholson Jr., who is wrapping up one of the longest stints as commander of the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
6:56 | 08/23/18

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Transcript for One-on-one with top US war commander
Hi I'm your panel and I've been reporting on Afghanistan the conflict that since it began back in October 2001. It's now America's longest war and it is still raging. We've just come back from a trip around the country it was a chance to go to the front lines and see the State's in play in that battle. But also to travel to civilian areas and see Walt this changed. In the last seventeen years Wilson good to spend time with the overall commander of American and foreign forces that general John Nicholson's union. He's the longest serving commander of US and foreign troops in Afghanistan his tour of juicy. Is about come to an end this is a chance to really gets his take on the state to play them a began by asking him after all this time. Why American troops as still in Afghanistan. To protect our homeland and homeland of our allies and fortunately we still face a terrorist threat out of this region. 21 designated terrorist groups exist in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And our presence here which is a fraction of what it once was. Helped to keep pressure on those groups and as one of the main reasons why we haven't seen another attack for the United States since. So take the battle to the enemy hissy don't have to fund them in the home exactly is that because of its that's Brett keep pressure on here. Otherwise open fight clerk. Here is that the apt to take a mom's side is this a winnable war. I think it is and when it what I mean by that is to achieve a negotiated settlement. And so the trump administration's. South Asia policy that was announced in August to 2070. Identified. As part of its and stage a reconciliation amongst the belligerence. But it also had numerous new dimensions to the policy to bring that about one of which was. Pressure on Pakistan what's important to note is that within six months president trump announcing this policy. We had to piece offers on the table and within ten months of him announcing this policy we have the first ever cease fire and seventeen years. The back your original question social pressure diplomatic pressure religious pressure as well as military pressure have all gotten to this point do you sing there. Potential fissures within the town of them. Moderates. Relative moderates parents Huntley and can be exploited to move this process full wolf first if we could achieve a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. That then clearly we've we love to see the entire group join them negotiations come what's been interesting to note during the cease fire however. Is that it would appear that some local commanders disagree with their superiors and terms of the desire for peace and saw local foot soldiers and local commanders. Meeting with their Afghan government counterparts we saw a shadow governors governors. Who saw soldiers. When Hamas terror front eight dancers dancing however we saw thousands. Join indeed prayers and Kandahar. Taliban and Afghan soldiers sitting side by side so. The foot soldiers and the commanders on the ground appear to want peace how has America's posture changed towards the Taliban is America. For pets sit down and told them. So in secretary of state Pompeo statement included a couple of a specific comments one was that we were ready to speak support facilitate and participate again. Talks with all of the parties to advance the peace process and that's specifically included the talent. The second thing was a willingness to discuss the role of international. Forces that's code for withdrawal. Well sectors day pop Paris there were ready to talk about the role that is why would point out that both NATO and the United States and said there were here on a conditions basis. So what are these conditions these conditions include a reduction in violence the conditions including every announcement of terrorism. So if these conditions are met. The alliance as Marty said these are some of the conditions that would cause us to examine the level of force necessary going forward but even the Taliban. Have requested an international presence going for how would you feel of assisting them talking to time. We do we want to end this war. We want and that on terms that protect our nation. Our homelands and provide a lower level of violence for the Afghans so if that were necessary them and absolutely. How is that being. Or rather currently any lines of communication. Between American forces all governments and the insurgents on the direct to indirect. There there so this week we should talk about in public because a successful negotiation partners to occur. In secret so that ish you know issues can be put on the table and discussed. I'd say it's it's really not a military role less morbid diplomatic role that that you've outlined their say that are diplomats are working very hard through all channels. Two. Extend our messages to the Taliban and and move the process forward. Can christening rather interesting. When I was researching you. Tom. Which was when you distant relatives to us brigadeer general John Nicholson. Was a British officer. With the East India Co. in the faults in the first Anglo Afghan war here. Loomis 180 years ago. What hopes you have to you'll descendants will not be back fighting hit and another couple of centuries. Well first I say. It's been an honor. To be back here in Afghanistan. And fight alongside the Afghan people have not against them. And I. It was. Sarah differed as saying they're walking in many at the same trails that my ancestor walked in and guys stand Jalal of that and from school. And elsewhere around the country. I think. What I would love to be able to do is to visit and Afghanistan at peace and enjoy that warm hospitality the Afghan people and be able freely around the country. And really enjoy all the wonders of Afghanistan. And so that's what I hope for them for the next generation. Who's who steals my final question when can the American people expects than men and women in uniform. We are. Nearing. A reconciliation. And then as we achieve that the conditions improve and I think. That's that's when we would see that happen that the key those that we. We are here protecting our homeland. We're protecting their homelands of our allies and were fighting alongside Afghans were fighting our fight for us but they do need our help of many or help from all wrong. General of the some thank you very much different much so pleasure to see you thanks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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