Kabul, Jun 7: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Kabul on an unannounced trip Thursday to assess the situation in Afghanistan and discuss plans for troop withdrawal.
Panetta, who is on his fourth trip to Afghanistan, admitted that the increase in attacks by the insurgents appear to be much more organized.
Ahead of Panetta’s visit, scores of Afghans were killed in Taliban bombings and other violence, including a NATO airstrike.
On Wednesday, three suicide attackers blew themselves up in a marketplace in southern Afghanistan, killing 22 people and wounding at least 50 others.
During his brief visit, he is due to meet US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, before speaking to American troops and holding talks with his Afghan counterpart, Abdul Rahim Wardak.
Panetta said he wants to get an assessment of the situation from top US commander in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen.
“I think it’s important to make sure we are aware of the kind of attacks they’re going to engage in … as we go through the rest of the summer,” Panetta told reporters travelling with him during a stop in New Delhi on Wednesday.
US plans to withdraw 23,000 American troops by the end of September from Afghanistan, leaving about 68,000 American military personnel in the country. (ANI)