U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the combat mission in Afghanistan could end mid-to-late next year.  But news of an expedited exit from Afghanistan is being denounced by some on Capitol Hill.

FOX News Radio White House Correspondent Mike Majchrowitz reports:

Defense Secretary Panetta has cause a lot of anxiety with his announcement that the U.S. hopes to end its combat role in Afghanistan next year,  earlier than had been expected.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain says this will only encourage the Taliban to fight on.

(McCain)"Taliban are telling their friends and enemies today: See, I told you, the Americans are leaving."

A statment bolstered by a recently leaked NATO document that says captured Taliban have expressed optimism they'll take over Afghanistan once U.S. troops are gone.

Also causing controversy is talk the U.S. might release some Taliban from Guantanamo Bay as a confidence building measure before talks with the Taliban.

At the White House, Mike Majchrowitz, FOX News Radio