US Official Vows to Stop Insider Attacks in Afghanistan

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 10:15 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says effective action is being taken to stop “insider” attacks on NATO soldiers that have undermined trust between coalition and Afghan forces.

Panetta told NATO defense ministers in Brussels whatever the motives behind the attacks, the enemy is using them to “drive a wedge” between Afghan and coalition partners. The defense secretary said NATO can deny the enemy its goal only by using all of its ability to counter the attacks.

More than 52 coalition personnel have been killed by their Afghan counterparts this year.

Separately, Panetta said Wednesday that NATO's commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Allen, will take over as the coalition's new supreme commander.

Assistant U.S. Marine commandant General Joseph Dunford will succeed Allen as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as international combat troops look to complete their withdrawal from the country by the end of 2014.

Panetta said Wednesday the security transition is on track and that the Taliban will not able to derail the NATO plan. He also called on his NATO colleagues to help fill the shortfall in trainers for Afghan forces.

Allen and Dunford's nominations by U.S. President Barack Obama are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.