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Joint raids suspended: NATO's Afghanistan strategy hits hurdle

The new policy is likely to put even more distance between NATO and Afghan forces, stressing relations at a time when NATO has been working to hand over security to the Afghans.

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NATO soldiers arrive at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept.18. US and NATO forces announced that they will now severely restrict their partnered operations with Afghan forces, following a wave of so-called green-on-blue killings.

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

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US and NATO forces announced that they will now severely restrict their partnered operations with Afghan forces, following a wave of so-called green-on-blue killings where Afghan security forces kill international military troops and violent fallout from the anti-Islam YouTube video.

Prior to the shift, international forces throughout Afghanistan regularly conducted joint missions with their Afghan counterparts and oversaw many training exercises. Now any joint interaction that takes place below advising the command staff at the battalion level will require the approval of the two-star NATO general in command of the region.

“It was both the spate of green-on-blues recently, as well as recent worldwide events following the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video and the attacks on embassies. There were a lot of risks to ISAF soldiers as well as Americans abroad in the past week that have driven this decision,” says US Army Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force. “We noticed a trend, and we’re doing what we can to mitigate the risk to our troops in the field.”

The new policy is likely to put even more distance between international and Afghan forces, stressing relations at a time when NATO has been working to hand over a greater portion of the security responsibility ahead of the end of its combat operations in 2014.

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