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Afghan insider attacks are 'last gasp effort' by Taleban: US

Published on Sep 17, 2012 2:48 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - United States (US) Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday said insider attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan were a "last gasp" tactic by Taleban insurgents who had been unable to make up lost territory.

His comments came after a weekend in which six Nato troops were killed in apparent green-on-blue attacks, and appear to contradict commanders on the ground, who say most of the assaults are the result of cultural conflicts.

"This is an approach that the Taleban is resorting to, similar to the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices)," Mr Panetta said during a visit to Tokyo.

He said "frankly it is a kind of last-gasp effort to be able to not only target our forces but to try to create chaos." The Islamist insurgency has to resort to such tactics as "they've been unable to regain any of the territory that they have lost." The US military was taking the threat seriously and looking at further steps to protect troops in Afghanistan, he said during a joint press conference with his Japanese opposite number.

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