Author / source: independent online/reuters
KABUL: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came in Afghanistan on Thursday for talks with the military leaders amid rising violence in the war against the Taliban and a spate of deadly incidents, including a NATO air strike should have killed 18 villagers.
Panetta said the purpose of the trip was to hear a review from US General John Allen, the head of the NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan, about the "confront ability, these threats by the Taliban and the Haqqanis", a reference to hardliners, al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.
Panetta planned to visit troops and talks with the Afghan Defense Minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak.
Panetta said he wanted to find out about a recent increase in the number of attacks in Afghanistan, including some seemingly more organized, others recently considered.
"I think it is important to try to make sure that we trust the kind of attacks, they are going to participate, especially as we go through the rest of the summer and give the second half of this year", said Panetta.
The visit of the Afghanistan came at the end of Panetta weeklong trip to Asia to explain a new US military strategy, announced in January that calls for a shift in strategic focus to the region of Asia-Pacific.
Encouraged at a stopover in New Delhi Panetta Indian politicians are in the help for Afghanistan strengthen educate its economy and its security forces, to draw as the international coalition forces begins in the next two years.
He urged to continue working, to develop a better relationship with Pakistan, a longtime rival for influence in Afghanistan also India.
"As well as India relations with Pakistan sees as complicated, so we do." "And it is, it's a complicated relationship - often frustrating - it is often difficult, but at the same time a necessary relationship", he said.
Panetta said, "fought a war" against al-Qaeda in Pakistan lawless northwestern areas, and he suggested the United States, that drone strikes on al Qaeda leaders in the region despite Pakistan's concerns remain, that they its sovereignty against.
He said "We the Pakistanis, which would have made it clear the United States of America, us to defend, the attacks against us". "And we have done just that." "We have gone for their leadership and we have actually done it."
"We are very clear that we continue to defend us have taken", Panetta said.
On Wednesday, Afghan officials and villagers said 18 people, including women and children, were killed in a NATO air raid in southeastern of Afghanistan. NATO officials said that they are looking for in the reports of civilian casualties.
Also on Wednesday, two suicide bombers killed 20 civilians outside a large NATO base in the South, the bloodiest attack in weeks, because the Taliban offensive launched a spring.
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