Panetta Visits Afghanistan

    KUWAIT - DECEMBER 12: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hugs Airman First Class Kimberly Landeros, of Reno, Nev. after dropping coins presented to her by the Secretary of Defense during his visit to Ali Al Salem Air Base on December 12, 2012 in Kuwait. The Defense Secretary met with troops to thank them for their service during a four day visit to Kuwait . (Photo by Susan Walsh - Pool/Getty Images)

    Susan Walsh, Pool / Getty Images

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta landed in Afghanistan on Wednesday as part of an unannounced visit to discuss future troop levels with Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander there. Allen has drawn up several proposals about the future of U.S. troops as NATO prepares to exit the country in December 2014. These options should be ready for presentation to the president “within the next few weeks,” Panetta said. The secretary’s visit comes as a Pentagon report released this week found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without some support from the U.S. or NATO. Meanwhile, Allen’s nomination as NATO’s top commander has been put on hold amid an investigation into his alleged relationship with Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite connected to former CIA director David Petraeus’s resignation.

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