Top U.S. commander ‘Mad as hell’ over inside attacks by Afghan troops

Posted at 3:20 PM, Sep 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-30 14:10:45-04

NEW YORK (CBS News) – America’s top commander in Afghanistan says he’s willing to sacrifice all for the military campaign he leads there, but the recent insider attacks on his men by the Afghans who fight beside them is a maddening trend of murder he intends to stop.

Gen. John Allen tells Lara Logan those insider attacks will likely continue, in a report from Afghanistan in which she also interviews Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and a Taliban commander.

Her report on the critical situation in Afghanistan airs on “60 Minutes” as the 45th season of the landmark news magazine premieres Sunday.

Asked if he could explain the increase in such treacherous attacks, the general replies,“Well, I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you. We’re going to go after this. It reverberates everywhere across the United States…We’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign, but we’re not willing to be murdered for it.”

The murder will continue, predicts Allen.

“The enemy recognizes this as a vulnerability,” he says, just like the enemy effectively used IEDs in Iraq. “We had to adjust to [IEDs]. Here, I think the signature attack that we’re beginning to see is going to be the insider attack.”

The Taliban claims to be behind the attacks. One of its commanders tells Logan, “These are Taliban attacks. This is part of our new military strategy; we have people in the Afghan police and the army.”

The Taliban commander agreed to come to Kabul for an interview under the condition that he not be identified. He says he has more than a dozen al-Qaeda fighters under his command and tells Logan that they provide critical know-how.

“There are many groups that have [al-Qaeda members]. We can’t do this without them,” the Taliban commander says. Besides teaching them to make IEDs, he says they are weapons experts. “When our weapons break, they are the ones who repair them.”

Hamid Karzai says that he is saddened by these attacks and takes responsibility to correct them. But he is disappointed with the fact that Pakistan is still a sanctuary for foreign fighters 11 years after 9/11. And he tells Logan, Arabs and Chechens are present on the Afghan battlefield, still able to kill U.S. and Afghan soldiers.

“Name them al-Qaeda, name them Haqqani, name them Taliban… They’re still there,” he tells Logan. “I know that a lot of innocent people die every day. The question is what have we done wrong that they are still able to hurt and damage people?… That is the question that I have engaged with the United States almost daily.”

Gen. Allen says the situation in Afghanistan is better than it was, but more needs to be done about the sanctuaries in Pakistan. “The relationship that we have between I.S.A.F forces and the Pakistani military has improved dramatically.”

Ultimately, he says, the sanctuaries are a policy issue between the U.S. and Pakistani governments to work out.  “I’m not going to be able to wage war in Pakistan,” says Allen.

Watch the sesaon premiere of “60 Minutes” on NewsChannel 3 at 7 p.m.