By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the telephone yesterday, discussing the “significant progress” of American and Afghan forces as the transition process moves forward, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.
The two leaders talked about the challenges of insider attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, and Panetta thanked Karzai for his recent statements condemning such attacks, Little said in a statement.
“They expressed shared concern over this issue and agreed that American and Afghan officials should work even more closely together to minimize the potential for insider attacks in the future,” Little said.
Panetta also encouraged Karzai to maintain ongoing rapport with Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, International Security Assistance Forces commander, in efforts to further strengthen ISAF-Afghan cooperation and counter the insider attack threat, Little said.
Measures to counter the threat include augmented counterintelligence, more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits and heightened engagement with village elders, who often play a key role by vouching for Afghan security personnel, Little added.