NATO resuming more operations with Afghans, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:37am IST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NATO-led forces are resuming operations alongside their Afghan counterparts in growing numbers, a week after commanders curtailed some joint missions due to a surge in insider attacks and tensions over an anti-Islamic video, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The Pentagon did not provide precise figures on the extent of the increase in partnering since the new policy was enacted. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said most units in Afghanistan were conducting "normal partnered operations at all levels."

"We must and we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our forces. But I also want to underscore that we remain fully committed to our strategy of transitioning to Afghan security control," Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.

Pentagon officials have downplayed NATO's moved to curtail joint missions, announced last week, stressing it was temporary and limited to units smaller than 800-strong battalions.

Still, analysts have questioned whether the moved could deliver a propaganda victory to the Taliban and undercut the core mission of mentoring Afghan forces in those areas where joint operations were halted.

A U.S. official said operations were still not back to normal levels and the new policy requiring case-by-case approval from regional commanders for joint operations for units smaller than 800-strong battalions remains in effect.

Insider attacks in which Afghan security forces have turned their weapons against Western forces have accounted for about one in five combat deaths for NATO-led troops this year.

Panetta warned that more attacks were likely, despite ramped up efforts to crack down on infiltration by the Taliban and weed out radicalized Afghans.

"I expect that there will be more of these high-profile attacks and that the enemy will do whatever they can to try and break our will using this kind of tactic," Panetta said. "That will not happen." (Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Todd Eastham)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Diplomacy

TOP SHOWCASE

WTO Customs Deal

WTO Customs Deal

U.S. says hopeful of WTO deal with India only hours before deadline  Full Article 

Tracking Monsoon

Tracking Monsoon

Monsoon turns patchy after revival   Full Article 

Gaza Violence

Gaza Violence

Netanyahu vows to complete Gaza tunnels destruction  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola  Full Article 

India vs England

India vs England

Moeen puts India in a spin as England level series  Full Article 

Hacking USB Devices

Hacking USB Devices

Hackers can tap USB devices in new attacks, researcher warns  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage