December 13th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

Panetta optimistic about Afghanistan

This year "will mark a turning point" in Afghanistan and other regions, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

In Afghanistan, "our troops have been able to obviously reduce the levels of violence there. We've seen the lowest levels of violence there in almost five years there now. They are successful in securing some of the key areas in Afghanistan," Panetta told reporters during a flight on his overseas trip.

He's visiting Djibouti, Iraq, Turkey and Libya, as well as Afghanistan, where war still rages. He'll meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, and Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

"Obviously, there is greater success in the Afghan military and police. The Afghan military is engaging in operations," Panetta said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Leon Panetta • Libya • Politics • Turkey • U.S.
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    Damn, just put up that shield already and forget about em! Those countries always have and always will be at war!

    December 13, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    Things may look better on the surface but they are boiling underneath. All the insurgents are doing is laying low waiting for NATO and us to pull out. Let's see...they have successfully kicked the British, the Soviet Union, the United States and NATO out of their country. Who's next?

    December 13, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    World war 3 tony!

    December 13, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    Not to mention nearly EVERY country has gone broke fighting this NEVER ENDING battle.

    December 13, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Just let them have at it with each other.
    It's never going to end.

    I have a strange craving for some fresh-baked bread now...

    December 13, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Yeah the only thing to be optimistic about is we'll eventually get out of there. How about now ? Pakistan is closing the door on us, and we're going to be faced with an increasingly hostile environment because of it.
    Before you say it, Yes I realize we're in a hostile environment. But with the half assed support of Pakistan, at least we had decent supply routes. Also, with Pakistans peace talks with the taliban, guess what ?

    December 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andreas Moser

    And no word about the Afghan economy:

    December 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    @ bobcat

    It was with Pakistan's support that we managed to draw 10 years there or the Taliban's would have kicked us out long before. And its not only Pakistan but we & karzai too have been trying to engage talibans in a dialogue. There is no other option.
    @ chrissy
    most times Afgans have been warring with foreign invaders

    @ Andreas

    Afghan economy has gone to the dogs in the past decade. Poppy is the only produce that the Karzai cartel & us have been thriving upon. It flourished once on tourism, export of dry fruits, carpets etc.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    We have turned entire regions & people hostile to us because of our direction less policies detached from reality on the ground and sole reliance on ilitary solutions.
    It appears that those up on the Hill have lost vision of where the rest of the world is headed & are plodding along the disastrous path carved during the Bush-Cheney era of infamy.
    I feel sad for my country when I see us losing it globally.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Waterboard Mrs. Sandusky

    Afghanistan is in-between China and China's energy supply. Everything else is a side note.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    We keep forgetting those Poppys that American druggies love so wonder we are into another bood=ndogle war we can never really win. Fact is these primitive cultures with their centuries of religious and tribal infighting need to be left to settle their own problems without any of our boots on the ground. Surely there's enough common sense to see this for what it is! Hopeless waste of lives and our $!

    December 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |