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Taliban Weakened in Afghanistan, Panetta Says in PBS Interview

DoD photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan have significantly weakened the Taliban, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

Panetta said in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS the transition of handing over security to Afghan forces is going well and that by 2014, Afghanistan will be on a path toward securing and governing their country.

As part of reconciliation between Afghan leaders and Taliban members, Panetta said insurgents must disarm, become part of the government and renounce al-Qaida.

Pakistan is also part of the Afghan process, with al-Qaida having a presence in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Panetta recently met with Pakistani military leaders to emphasize the threat of terrorism to both Pakistan and the U.S.

“We will go after al-Qaida in the (tribal areas) so that they never have the opportunity to attack (the U.S.) again,” Panetta said.

Click here to watch the full interview.

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