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Panetta Visits Afghanistan Amid Rising Violence

U.S. Defense Chief Puts Pressure On Pakistan
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced trip for talks with military leaders.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him during a stop in New Delhi, India, Panetta said he wanted to get an assessment of the situation from the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops, Marine General John Allen.

Panetta also planned to visit troops and meet with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.

Panetta arrived in Afghanistan one day after three suicide attackers killed 22 people in southern Afghanistan.

And in the east, Afghan officials and residents said a NATO air strike targeting militants killed 18 civilians.

A total of 23,000 U.S. are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of September.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters