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NATO scales back Afghan joint operations

A string of
A string of "green on blue" insider attacks against NATO troops have prompted a scaling back of joint operations with Afghan special forces. AFP PHOTO/ JANGIR

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The American-led coalition in Afghanistan is sharply curtailing its joint patrols with the Afghan army and police after a string of bombings and the deaths of NATO troops.

General John Allen, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, said joint on-the-ground operations would be suspended until "until further notice". Joint operations will now only be conducted in large operations involving several hundred troops.

The joint patrols are considered essential to the American exit strategy, which is to train local Afghan forces to patrol their own country as Western troops withdraw by 2014.

But ongoing violence, including escalating attacks by Afghan service members and rising outrage over an anti-Muslim video, are putting the future of the joint operations in jeopardy.

So far this year, 51 NATO troops have been killed by so-called "green on blue" insider attacks where uniformed Afghans turned on allied troops.


Rajiv Chandrasekaran, reporter for the Washington Post and author of the book "Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan"