TOKYO — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today that while he is very concerned about rogue Afghan troops and police turning their guns on U.S. and allied forces, he sees the insider attacks as the “last gasp” of a Taliban insurgency that has not been able to regain lost ground.
The defense chief’s comments followed unusually sharp criticism from Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dempsey on Sunday called the escalating insider attacks a “very serious threat” to the Afghanistan campaign.
Dempsey vowed that something has to change in order to address the escalating problem, and he suggested that the Afghans need to take the matter as seriously as the Americans do.
There have been three so-called insider attacks against U.S. and NATO troops over the past several days, including an attack at a checkpoint by Afghan police Sunday that killed four American soldiers.