Panetta: Insider attacks in Afghanistan must not impede overall goals

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that while concerned about the impact of insider attacks on forces in Afghanistan, top US commander Gen. John Allen is taking necessary steps to protect the force while ensuring it will be able to hand over to the Afghans and withdraw by the end of 2014. He spoke in Beijing after talks with the Chinese defense minister. NATO Tuesday ordered joint operations with Afghan troops to be scaled down following a sharp rise in uniformed Afghans turning on their US colleagues and mentors. Under the new order, each joint operation will require the approval of a regional commander.

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