Panetta calls new Afghan defence, interior ministers



Panetta calls new Afghan defence, interior ministers Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has called his newly appointed Afghan counterpart and the interior minister and assured full support as they take over the security of the country from the American troops.

Panetta called the Afghan Minister of Defence Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and the Minister of Interior Ghulam Mujtaba Patang to congratulate them on their recent appointments, the Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

Panetta and the ministers expressed their eagerness to work together to address a number of important issues, such as the continued development of the Afghan national security forces and preventing insider attacks, he said.

Little said that Panetta complimented the ministers on the increasing professionalism and capabilities of the Afghan national army and Afghan national police, and reiterated the United States' continued commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan.

Earlier in the day, Little said insiders attack is "a major problem" in Afghanistan. "Insiders attacks are a major problem that we are currently confronting. The Secretary (of Defence), the other day mentioned IEDs (impoverished explosive devises) as well," he said.

However, the US official added that even in the face of insiders attack and IED attacks, there is progress being made in Afghanistan.

PTI