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NATO rethinks joint operations with Afghan forces

After a series of attacks that have seen Western soldiers killed by Afghan colleagues working side-by-side, NATO has announced it is scaling back some of its joint operations with Afghans.

The move indefinitely suspends most joint patrol operations involving NATO International Assistance Security Force (ISAF) troops for units smaller than a battalion, which is around 800 troops.

Smaller missions would be evaluated on a case by case basis, ISAF said on Tuesday.

NATO was quick to point out in a statement released Tuesday that partnering continues to take place between ISAF troops and members of the Afghan National Security Forces under NATO's Security Force Assistance model.

"ISAF remains absolutely committed to partnering with, training, advising and assisting our ANSF counterparts," the statement read, adding that focus of joint missions had simply been shifted to above the battalion level.

In addition to concerns of "green-on-blue" attacks conducted by Afghan soldiers on ISAF troops, the "Innocence of Muslims" video that has sparked outrage in several predominantly Muslim countries played a role in NATO's decision.

In response to the video, the statement said, "ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary, measures to reduce our profile and vulnerability to civil disturbances or insider attacks. This means that in some local instances, operational tempo has been reduced, or force protection has been increased."

ISAF's Security Force Assistance model would return to operations as soon as conditions warranted, ISAF added.

More than 50 NATO-led troops have been killed in 2012 by Afghan police or soldiers. Most recently, four American and two British soldiers were killed over the weekend in attacks by Afghan police.

mz/msh (Reuters, AFP)