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Even before the shootings, anti-Americanism already was roiling in Afghanistan over U.S. troops burning Muslim holy books, including Korans, last month on an American base. The burnings came to light soon after a video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses was posted on the Internet in January.

Military commanders have yet to release their final investigation on the Koran burnings, which U.S. officials say was a mistake. Five U.S. service members could face disciplinary action in connection with the incident.

Mr. Panetta‘s two-day visit is scheduled to include meetings with President Hamid Karzai, Afghan defense officials and provincial leaders, as well as routine discussions with his commanders on the ground. The sessions are likely to touch on America’s planned withdrawal of about 22,000 troops by fall, including as many as 10,000 Marines from Helmand Province.

• Associated Press writers Mirwais Khan and Heidi Vogt in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.