Panetta reiterates calls for greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan

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“I think the reports have been slightly exaggerated,” department spokesman Capt. John Kirby told reporters during Tuesday's briefing. “I don't believe the secretary asked them … to do more rather than expressed how much he appreciated the work they were doing to help provide support in Afghanistan and some of the things that they were ― that they have expressed interest in continuing to do in Afghanistan, but also in the region.

“And so I think it was really more a statement of appreciation for everything they've done and the hope that they'll continue to stay involved as a leader in the region.”

Panetta's remarks have been seen as a way to tweak Pakistan, whose relationship with the United States is at a historic low following the raid against Osama bin Laden's compound and the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by a U.S. strike last year. The United States and Pakistan are currently engaged in tough negotiations to reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.


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