Panetta urges NATO allies to help train Afghans

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Associated Press

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 8:33 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the NATO coalition has turned an important corner in Afghanistan. And he says it has come too far and spilled too much blood to let insider attacks or anything else undermine the mission there.

Speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels, Panetta urged the other defense ministers to help fill a shortfall of military training teams. He said the U.S. "has filled a disproportionate number of these teams in recent years," and asked that NATO allies provide roughly 60 teams, which would bring the total to 465.

He says improving the capabilities of the Afghan forces is critical so they can take control of their country's security by the end of 2014.

At the meeting, NATO announced that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, will take over as the next NATO supreme allied commander in the spring. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the assistant Marine commandant, would take the top Afghanistan job. The changes must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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