Panetta: Afghan Attacks “Isolated Incidents”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says U.S. forces cannot be intimidated in light of recent attacks by partners in Afghanistan. Six American service members have been killed by their Afghan partners in recent days.

Panetta spoke to soldiers at Fort Campbell, on the border between Tennessee and Kentucky. It’s not far from Paducah, the home of an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who was shot dead inside the Afghan Interior Ministry last week. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Panetta called the recent spate of such attacks “isolated incidents,” stressing U.S. partners in Afghanistan are carefully screened.

“I think since the Taliban has not been effective at regaining territory, at conducting combat operations, since they’ve been weakened in their capability to do that, they’re going to use this kind of tactic to try to undermine our position there.”

Panetta also said growing U.S. debt is forcing the military to streamline its budget. But he reassured soldiers their basic benefits would be protected.

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