Panetta, Allen to reassure NATO on insider attacks

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BRUSSELS — NATO defense leaders gathering here today are committed to the war in Afghanistan, according to U.S. and alliance officials, but there are growing signs that the Afghan political and military hostilities are starting to wear on the coalition.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other U.S. officials heading into the meetings say they expect to reassure allies that military commanders are doing all they can to stem the tide of insider attacks, in which Afghan troops or insurgents dressed in their uniforms turn their guns on the coalition forces that are training them.

Just days ahead of the NATO meeting, Panetta was uncharacteristically sharp, criticizing Karzai for complaining rather than thanking the troops who have sacrificed their lives for his country.

Karzai’s argument that NATO is wrongly going after the Taliban in Afghanistan when it should be fighting insurgents in Pakistan’s safe havens could further erode support for the war, particularly among members of Congress.

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