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Pictures | Wed Dec 12, 2012 | 11:15am EST

U.S. defense chief in Afghanistan ahead of drawdown decision

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. Panetta is expected to meet with troops as part of a holiday visit to thank the troops for their service. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. Panetta is expected to meet with troops as...more

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. Panetta is expected to meet with troops as part of a holiday visit to thank the troops for their service. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta exits his plane as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (L) watches at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta exits his plane as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (L) watches at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta exits his plane as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (L) watches at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (C) as Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, salutes upon Panetta's arrival at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (C) as Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, salutes upon Panetta's arrival at Kabul International...more

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham (C) as Marine General John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force, salutes upon Panetta's arrival at Kabul International Airport December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool
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