US Marines Waiting To Hear Leon Panetta Speak In Afghanistan Were Told To Get Rid Of Their Weapons
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urgently flew to Afghanistan to argue for the U.S. war strategy at a time of rising uncertainty, reports the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Following Sunday’s massacre of Afghan civilians by an American soldier in Kandahar province — plus the Koran burnings last month — relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan have become strained with fresh calls for Americans to withdraw.
The Washington Post reports that Members of Afghanistan’s Senate refused to carry on with business as usual inside parliament and instead stood in silent protest of the killings.
Panetta’s two-day trip has had a few awkward moments.
At a town hall meeting at Camp Leatherneck, 200 people including Marines gathered to hear Panetta speak. An uncomfortable moment arose when the Marines were asked to get up and leave the tent to store their M-16s, M-4 automatic rifles and 9-mm pistols outside. And then return empty handed.