Panetta: US surge troops out of Afghanistan

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The 33,000 additional U.S. troops that President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan to tamp down the Taliban attacks nearly two years ago have now left the country, but a new wave of deadly insider attacks and a reassessment of how NATO troops partner with Afghans have raised questions about how well the military strategy is working.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today the troops had come out, declaring the surge had accomplished its mission.

But after a tumultuous week in Afghanistan that saw commanders put limits on when NATO and Afghan troops can patrol together, Panetta also acknowledged there will still be difficult days ahead.

The withdrawal, which was completed on schedule, still leaves close to 100,000 NATO troops there, including 68,000 Americans.

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