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Panetta: Afghan victory tied to Pakistan

Dec. 14, 2011 at 1:52 PM   |   Comments

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Wednesday told U.S. troops in Afghanistan the conflict has reached a turning point but victory must also include Pakistan.

"We are achieving a turning point, after 10 years of war, when it comes to terrorism," Panetta told 200 soldiers from the 172nd Infantry Brigade based in Paktika province, about 30 miles from the Pakistan border.

"We have made it very difficult for them to come together to plan the kind of attack that we saw on 9/11. And as a result of the efforts of both the military and the intelligence community, the bottom line is that not only is the world safer, not only is this area safer, but our country is safer," Panetta said.

"And the result is going to be that ultimately, here in Afghanistan, we will be able to establish a country that is able to govern and secure itself and we will make sure that the Taliban ... [and] that al-Qaida will never again be able to find safe haven here.

"Ultimately, to win in Afghanistan, we have to win in Pakistan as well. … If we are going to secure this country, the Pakistanis better damn well secure their country as well," Panetta told the troops.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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