NATO retrenches integration with Afghan forces amid "insider killings"

Featured - September 19th, 2012
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NATO announced Tuesday that it would temporarily retrench joint operations with Afghan security forces following “vengeance killings” over an anti-Islam film, the Financial Times reports.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said that General John Allen, commander of the NATO coalition, “has directed all operational commanders to review force protection and tactical activities in the light of the current circumstances”. Mr. Little said that there will be a review of integration below the battalion level, such as squads, platoon and companies.

According to reports, rogue Afghan soldiers carried out the “insider killings” to avenge Islam amid reverberating deadly riots across the Muslim world. The incident claimed the lives of four US troops on Sunday after Afghan soldiers opened fire on them. Two British soldiers were also killed by local police the day before. The total number of casualties from “insider killings” rose to 51 this year, with most of them Americans.

NATO forces are engaging Afghan forces in joint operations ahead of handing over national security against Taliban insurgents by the time the troops are pulled back in 2014. However, increasing civilian casualties have frayed relations between NATO troops and local forces. A NATO air strike on early Sunday morning is reported to have left at least eight women dead, the latest blow to strained relations. Though the coalition said the strike killed “a large number of insurgents”, local authorities condemned it, saying “killing innocent women is not justifiable at all”.