Odierno: Insider attacks evidence Taliban is 'desperate

Odierno said new procedures had been put in place to better protect American troops from the attacks.

"On the U.S. side, we're training or coming up with new techniques, awareness and other things so our soldiers are more aware of this potential threat," Odierno said. "But the key is working with the Afghan government, the Afghan army to help us to vet and identify and they are working very hard and we are sending additional help with them and they are working hard to vet these individuals."

Odierno also said that he agreed with President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney that the war in Afghanistan should be wound down by 2014, although he emphasized the importance of having a continued U.S. presence in the country.

"What we have to do is turn over responsibility to them, continue to support them," Odierno said. "We'll continue probably to have assistance in training after 2014."

"The Taliban tries to use this as — they say NATO is leaving in '14, the U.S. is leaving in 2014, they try to use that as a propaganda tool," he continued. "That's why it's so important for us to make sure the Afghans are ready to stand up against these individuals and more importantly, to follow through post-2014."

Odierno was in Manhattan to participate in the annual Christopher Columbus Day parade, which celebrates prominent Italian-Americans.