WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Afghan government is called on to work with international forces to curb green-on-blue attacks in the country, the U.S. defense secretary said.
A series of attacks by Afghan troops against U.S. and NATO personnel prompted a high-level meeting of Western commanders last week. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke by phone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express concern about the increasing number of attacks.
The Defense Department said Panetta encouraged the Afghan president to work closely with international troops "to counter the insider attack threat, including augmented counterintelligence measures, even more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits, and stepped up engagement with village elders, who often play a key role by vouching for Afghan security personnel."
The U.N. Security Council last week expressed serious concern about ongoing threats in Afghanistan.
"No terrorist act can reverse the path toward Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the government of Afghanistan and the international community," a Security Council statement read.
Karzai, during a summit in London last month, said lasting peace would come through an inclusive political process that could include members of the Taliban and other armed opposition groups in the country.
International forces are expected to hand security responsibility over to their Afghan counterparts by 2014.