London stands by ISAF's training role

Sept. 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM
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LONDON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond said there was no change in policy in Afghanistan after coalition forces revised their Afghan partnerships.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said Tuesday it was responding to the regional reaction to an anti-Islamic film by keeping a low profile.

"ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary, measures to reduce our profile and vulnerability to civil disturbances or insider attacks," a statement read.

Hammond said there's been no change of policy in Afghanistan. He said the news media became "a little overexcited" about the issue and may have misinterpreted ISAF's announcement.

"The commander of ISAF Joint Command has effectively directed a change to the level at which partnering and advising are scrutinized and authorized," he said in a statement.

NATO-led forces last week said they were revisiting training programs for Afghan recruits following a series of so-called green-on-blue attacks.

Hammond said Afghan national forces were increasing their role in security operations while international forces move to the background.

"We have a strategic plan that takes us to the end of combat operations in 2014 while strengthening the Afghan national security force to take over security responsibility from us," he said. "I have every confidence in the way that ... ISAF is executing that plan."

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