Hundreds of U.S. Marines were ordered by an American sergeant on Wednesday to disarm before entering a tent where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was set to speak during his trip to Afghanistan.
No reason was given and U.S. officials tried to downplay the move. But the highly unusual security measure comes amid rising tension in the country after an American solider allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday.
Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall told more than 200 Marines at Camp Leatherneck that they were to leave their weapons outside. Afghan troops had already been told that they, too, were not allowed to bring their guns.