Attack on U.S. Soldiers Further Complicates Relations With Afghans

Muhammad Lila and Luis Martinez discuss killing of U.S. troops by gunman dressed as an Afghan police
3:00 | 03/11/13

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Transcript for Attack on U.S. Soldiers Further Complicates Relations With Afghans
This is NB BC news. Special. And good afternoon everyone I'm down Cutler in New York to American servicemen in Afghanistan were shot and killed this morning along with three Afghan policeman. In an insider attack. An Afghan man in a police uniform opened fire during a training session at a facility in the eastern -- act province. US officials say at least ten Americans and a dozen Afghans were injured in the firefight. This shooting now the latest in a series of insider attacks against coalition. And Afghan forces and it comes a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Americans. Have colluded with the Taliban to keep Afghanistan unstable. A press conference between secretary of defense Chuck Hagel and President Karzai was scheduled for yesterday it was canceled. All for security reasons according to officials. Right now I want to bring an ABC news correspondent Mohamed Lima in Islamabad and ABC news digital -- covering the Pentagon Louis Martinez. He is in Washington DC -- I want to start with you what can you tell us about the attack this morning. Well here's what we know is confirmed and this incident took place at a police training facility in -- -- province which is a pretty restive province in eastern Afghanistan it's a problem and -- coalition troops -- -- hard time. Fighting the insurgency in -- US troops possibly special forces were visiting that police training facility on a training mission there. When Afghan officials say there were some sort of argument or altercation that took place and that's when we can confirm that at least one Afghan officers that are opened fire. Now that opening fire that incident led to a firefight -- according to some reports lasted. For up to -- -- in the end. Again confirms to American troops and two Afghan policeman dead and injury reports wish -- has been tracking -- going up throughout the day at least ten US troops wounded along with an untold number of Afghans -- clearly what happened today is more than just a regular insider attack this was a very big deal. And -- you wanna talk more about the freedom blue -- string of attacks that occurred in Afghanistan but Mohamad also wanted to ask you about what is happening at the site right now. Well this is the big question it immediately after this happened US special forces went in and cordoned off the entire site we've been in touch with some pretty senior Afghan officials who have expressed their frustration to us saying that the Americans aren't even allowing senior Afghan leaders onto the site so -- -- getting in no -- getting out there has been planes. Hovering above the site all day. And it could be some time yet before we actually oh or or people from outside the military get access to that facility to -- the -- -- just how big this attack was at. Lou I -- bring you went to this what has been the reaction and from the US. Well the reaction has been pretty much surprise at that this type of incidents taking place again. These numbers have gone up significantly these green on blue attacks as they're called here in US. Last year remember -- -- -- spiked up significantly or sixty. I succeed -- 46 of these incidents. Left about 64 killed forty those of Merrick 35 of those American. And this year so far his only minutes this is now the third incident. On the what's striking to officials here is the severity of this incident is -- is talking about. We have not seen numbers like this before in his previous incidents so that's what's raising concern here. Now this attack is coming a day after. Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- later accusation that the Taliban in the US. Are somehow working together to keep violence. Escalated there and an increase in kind of sensors on stability instability in Afghanistan what's been the reaction to back kind of a statement. While there's been some frustration for senior officials -- Karzai. Because you never know exactly -- Karzai's gonna get you gotta remember that he's a lame -- he's he's out of office in 2014. So he can pretty much say -- -- on his mind he does have a history of expressing himself very clearly two of the but the US presence in Afghanistan. And this is another one of those incidents but this one seemed to view have really -- officials over there I think -- since recording exactly on what it was. That Karzai said I think it's more along the lines. That he believes that the United States and the Taliban -- messaging that after the US pull irony Oakland when he fourteen. Now that the violence levels and an increase. So it's unclear exactly what he was saying I think Mohamad has a better picture -- egg and I wanted to get my Honda what was the reaction was issues it was a shock over there won't it from Mac kind of a statement from the president. Well it certainly -- our community you have to remember that Afghan President Hamid Karzai does have a track record of sort of speaking off -- constant and saying things that are very provocative so this isn't the first time he said something outlandish like -- the yeah resulting in that came out of his statement which was on Saturday which coincided with a visit the first ever visit. Chuck Hagel in his capacity as secretary of defense to Afghanistan -- very. Strange weekend and we can get into some of those details if you want about all the other stuff that happened this weekend but the reaction to that speech was one of you know this is Karzai just mouthing off again. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- She's saying all of these things out because he knows he's leaving office whether he you know speaks out against Americans in certain cases whether he doesn't it makes a difference because he's leaving -- the ideas he -- we'll just say whatever he can't. I would put this question -- if you Mohammed or Louis dredge up and this is well has -- been a sentiment and the feeling of the Afghan people all along and now as we've been saying as his tenure is coming to it and and that. He is truly reflecting the overall population overall popular opinion. Should. I could jump in their Dan so you know we we we know from a number of senior Karzai aides people that he relies on for advice. In the past -- said to -- this is mr. Karzai you are being too soft when the Americans do things they're not supposed to you the impression initially. Was that Carson -- seeking out enough I -- might be able to provide more context -- -- we've seen certainly over the last -- Karzai has been much more mobile. -- I think he has ever been during his tenure. Criticizing Americans -- some points criticizing them directly and other cases criticizing them the almost taking cheap shots like he did on Saturday which was speaking at a televised address speaking directly to the Afghan people. But apparently not taking those concerns to two ice or the coalition or you know did the US diplomatic personnel that -- in Kabul. -- I would argue that that it coincides with the arrival of the new general in Afghanistan as -- -- -- for he's the new commander is taking over for general Allen. -- literally -- -- first or second day on the job there is an incident there. And he had to go over to President Karzai and present apologies for combat incident -- -- and civilians killed. In Afghanistan it's not the way you want to start up and then there is and other incidents that followed. And then as -- talks about you know the the pullout to request that all US forces pull out -- -- products. So they haven't gotten not finding good footing his -- said maybe he's just getting everything off his -- But there's also another thing to be concerned about here in Afghanistan and that's the -- certainty that follows after Karzai because there really is no this. Designated successor if you will but there's no one on the horizon this rises to his stature right now -- who looks like they're going to be taking over sometime next year after the election -- over. If you can walk through the walk us through that the political theater that has happened the past couple of days because as we -- mention at blue ridge as you just mentioned general Don -- was meeting with secretary defense hagel along with President Karzai over the weekend both the us secretary -- and president -- cars or were is scheduled have a joint press conference that did not happen. The US has said that that was out of scheduling conflict. Is there -- behind. -- situation that's taking -- given Saturday is a suicide attack and then just this morning's. What they -- as you mentioned as a check K -- first trip to Afghanistan as Defense Secretary here's first overseas trip this is supposed to be. An opportunity for him to meet with the commanders. To get the new President Karzai communicate America's support for Karzai. Get out there -- its post because of a pro forma trip and instead -- -- -- got off to a rocky start. And most of it as a result Karzai. Because that his action to collect we talked about the -- hand over the delay there. And then Karzai's action so there is some surprise. When we heard that that the Karzai news conference with -- Was being -- that he was dropping out of it. -- I think we actually told it was at a security concerns. Which is -- and interest and and from there it's it's it's been a pretty much of Iraqis are as you said. Also because there is suing a suicide attacks. On on the defense ministry just down the street from where the -- -- headquarters is. Where angle was at the time so not quite the pro forma trip that we are expecting from -- -- and Afghanistan. And -- -- just I don't know what it portends. For the US relationship in Afghanistan right now but could Saturday suicide attack -- -- this -- green on blue attack could that change the timeline for US forces drawing down either and -- act or other parts of Afghanistan. Now this -- -- -- and -- -- just jump in very correctly I think this is a big question simply because this is just political backdrop to everything that was happening this weekend we noted Americans support the will be -- you know even once combat troops are -- what we don't know is how many troops will be left behind that is the million dollar question and make no mistake this is a contentious -- We know that there's going to be a lot of back and forth a Lana backroom dealing going on to override it and number. That's acceptable -- to the American public the -- it's also acceptable to the act. Afghan public and don't forget Hamad Karzai has to sell that final number to the Afghan people and he has to do so in -- way that guarantees security and safety in Afghanistan so that -- the backdrop behind all of this and my sense you know covering this region is that that's where some of this tension is actually starting from what -- that we saw erupt this weekend with -- making these comments which I should -- We're very categorically rejected almost immediately by both America's top commander and Americas and one of America's ambassadors in Kabul. So certainly a lot of rhetoric going on but what we don't know was how this is all gonna play out when it comes to negotiating the final number of American troops will stay behind in Afghanistan. After 2014. Literally right now here -- you hear anything different that the Pentagon. Neither am what I would save -- economic just said is pretty much same but the one other thing is to focus on that transition is taking place inside Afghanistan right now and there's uncertainty about what that number will be at -- -- -- US Afghan talks. May -- again this is a pressure point for for Karzai right now. But the transition is under -- right now as we speak. And you can see that reflected in the casualty numbers of Italian members of US troops in Afghanistan has taken a nosedive so far in the first ten weeks of the year. -- we're talking about. Five Americans killed -- now I think seven Americans killed. With today's incident but in that same period you're seeing -- -- 200. Afghan police and soldiers having been killed and in the American -- -- officials. Say that reflects the transition that's under way -- the US is pulling back in a more combat support role. And -- Afghan troops are in the lead now that's this long term strategy. That the US and they were going towards -- -- towards a -- in at the end of 2014. Now like Mohammed said the question is coming US troops or NATO troops can't -- and stay behind and that's this could be negotiating ploy right now by Karzai. As to how many he would like to see beyond that it. Haven't given us statements that President Karzai has made in the reaction both from the Afghans and from the American people. I'm itching to get your thoughts from both of view is there -- a lopsided level of frustration both for the Americans in the Afghans and now twelve years of bloodshed in Afghanistan. I think -- I think you're depending. On -- mean music that there's a target date. And this was done in consultation with NATO and we all know that it's the end of 2014. Yes there's actually there were some sense of what need we need to stay longer. To get the job done. That's that -- military dose of you know victory and any costing us. -- but you know the political decision has been made that 2014 is the end date for the US mission for the NATO mission combat mission in Afghanistan. I think there is -- always a sense of fatigue it's going on. -- I think it's more in the sense of the popular around here in the US -- I think that most people -- -- how many teachers United States really has in Afghanistan. And I get the sense of frustration from military officials here that there's just not enough news coverage about what's going on in Afghanistan. And you know just a jump -- -- I think one key statistic that we haven't talked about so far and it's something that certainly is a little bit ahead of schedule. And that is that right now. 87%. Of all operations that are happening in Afghanistan. Are Afghan -- That means that 81 87% of all cases American and coalition forces are not in the lead they are not in the front they are behind there are advising they are assisting. An and that number is really quite remarkable because you know. 87% is not that far rock from the goal of a 100% and we still have more than a year and a half left to go in the transition so you know US officials on the ground in Afghanistan have confided to me saying -- you know what this was a little bit ahead of schedule so there how. Happy with the transition so sore and my sense in the American officials is that you know America has lost a lot of -- in Afghanistan and invested. Billions and billions of dollars and Afghanistan. And when Hamid Karzai comes audiences so well you know the US wants instability after 2014. And there's a sense -- ungrateful nest there that people -- -- Karzai is really now being ungrateful and not acknowledging all of the sacrifices in America and the rest of the international community has made to build up Afghanistan to what it is today. The and that's been a long running complaint with Karzai in and it's. The from in the American officials and across eateries spectrum here in Washington. That Karzai has. Taking advantage of American problems in Afghanistan. And has been like -- momma said pretty much ungrateful. In terms of what the progress has been made there over the last decade. The immeasurable and often times incomprehensible cost of war -- Martinez in Washington DC -- -- in Islamabad -- thank you both for joining us today. I'm -- Cutler in new York and you can keep up with the latest news from this attack and US Afghan relations on And tonight. On world news with Diane Sawyer -- return you now to your regularly scheduled program. This has been a special report from BBC.

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

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