BRUSSELS - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sought to reassure NATO allies on Wednesday that effective action was being taken to stop "insider" attacks on their soldiers that have undermined trust between coalition and Afghan forces.
Panetta also told a meeting of alliance defence ministers that the 11-year-old Afghan war had "reached a critical moment" after the pullout of 33,000 US "surge" troops brought in two years ago to help counter a strengthening Taliban insurgency.
He said the coalition's response to attacks by Taliban insurgents disguised as Afghan policemen or soldiers and its efforts to improve its partnership with Afghan security forces would be critical to the success of the war with the Taliban.
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