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Panetta Confers With New Afghan Defense, Interior Ministers


U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has spoken by telephone with Afghanistan's defense and interior ministers about preventing insider attacks on NATO and Afghan forces.

It was the first time Panetta had spoken to Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and Interior Minister Ghulam Mujtaba Patang since their appointments to the positions.

The call comes after a suicide bomber killed 14 people -- including three NATO soldiers and four police -- in a suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan on October 1.

Provincial Governor Abdul Jabar Nahimi said the bomber had been riding a motorcycle packed with explosives and that 37 civilians were wounded in the blast in the city of Khost.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility.


Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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