The official line from the Pentagon is that U.S. forces will still work hand in glove with their Afghan counterparts, even after an Afghan Interior Minister employee murdered two American troops on Saturday. But some elite units are already reducing cooperation with the Afghans until anger over U.S. troops burning the Koran dies down, casting doubts on the Pentagon’s assurances that no change in U.S. strategy is necessary.
Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman on loan to the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said that Gen. John Allen had ordered his commanders to take whatever force protection measures were necessary to avoid a rerun of Saturday’s deadly shooting at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.
“But we’re still out there in very kinetic operations with Afghan partners,” Kirby told Pentagon reporters via teleconference. While “clearly, everyone’s going to be a little more vigilant right now,” Kirby said that “partnered operations and training of ANSF [Afghan soldiers and police] continues today.”
Not in all cases. The violence prompted at least one Army Special Forces A Team operating in the eastern Laghman province to take “a couple steps back” from mentoring their Afghan partners, a Special Forces soldier tells Danger Room.