(KABUL, Afghanistan) — U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta landed in Afghanistan Wednesday, just days after an American soldier allegedly went on a shooting spree there, killing 16 Afghan civilians in their homes as they slept.
The two-day trip was planned before the massacre, which has put a deep strain on the relationship between both countries.
Despite the mounting tension, Panetta met with Afghan tribal leaders on Wednesday and vowed that the U.S. will stay the course, insisting that great progress is being made in the fight against the Taliban. He is expected to convey that same message to Afghan political leaders, including President Hamid Karzai, during his visit.
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Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy, CNN
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN