Panetta visits Afghanistan as violence spikes

Associated Press
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center right, speaks with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, second right, and the head of NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen, center left, upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan Thursday, June 7, 2012. Panetta arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday to take stock of progress in the war and discuss plans for the troop drawdown, even as violence spiked in the south. (AP Photo/Jim Watson, Pool)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is keeping the pressure on Pakistan, but says the U.S. is reaching its limit of patience to root out the terrorist Haqqani network.

The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks on Americans, including last year's attack against the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. It also has ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban and has emerged as perhaps the biggest threat to stability in Afghanistan.

Lawmakers from both parties have been urging the State Departmeent to designate the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization.

The U.S. has given Pakistan billions of dollars in aid for its support in fighting Islamist militants.

Panetta's comments at a news conference with Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak caps two days of blunt commentary on Pakistan.