Nightly News | September 24, 2012
>>> and overseas to the front lines in afghanistan, where the drawdown of u.s. troops is getting a lot of attention, but lately it has been overshadowed by the insider attacks and the toll it has taken on american lives. lester holt is in kandahar where he talked one-on-one with the u.s. and coalition forces .
>> reporter: brian, good evening, with the war about to inter the 12th year, questions remain about the taliban resistance. but the man in charge of the war says the strategy for america getting out in the year 2014 is on track. it is quickly becoming put-up time for afghan forces and crunch time for the american commander overseeing the transition.
>> reporter: what keeps you up at night on this job?
>> the time, the amount of time remaining.
>> reporter: time between now and 2014 ?
>> that is correct, we have a lot of work to do.
>> reporter: the u.s. and nato forces have trended more than 300,000 troops, taking the lead in combat operations . but threatening that, a deadly spike in insider attacks, afghan forces turning on their nato partners, 51 all lied troops including 31 americans have been killed in such attacks so far this year. in a meeting today, the colonel acknowledged the existence of a training campaign.
>> the taliban recognizes this is an opportunity for them to try to split us apart. we'll work very hard to stop that.
>> reporter: the soldiers have to sleep with one eye open, doesn't that undermine the whole cohesion of the unity of the military?
>> it does, and we have to work very hard to eliminate that threat.
>> reporter: that includes efforts on the u.s.-afghan training activities, improved betting of afghan recruits. but taliban fighters continue to demonstrate their resolve in other ways, recently attacking, destroying airplanes and killing two americans .
>> it was not something we expected, but those types of attacks will come from time to time.
>> reporter: the u.s. officials admit the taliban will likely continue the violent attacks even after the americans leave.
>> would you expect the u.s. combat operations , if even only in a special forces , special operations role, to continue past 2014 ?
>> the intent is our relationship will be a training and advisory relationship. it ends in december, 2014 .
>> reporter: within a few months, general allen will issue his recommendation to president obama as to whether or not to cut troops here again in the coming year. he says he will make that recommendation based on conditions on the ground. but brian, he is optimistic.
>> lester hot, in kandahar tonight,