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Taliban claims credit for NATO cuts to Afghan patrols

Meanwhile, Prince Harry had to go under armed guard when the Taliban attacked the Afghan base he is on.

File photo of Prince Harry at Camp Bastion last week
File photo of Prince Harry at Camp Bastion last week
Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE TALIBAN HAS claimed credit for NATO’s decision to scale back joint operations with Afghan security forces, hailing it as the start of their overall defeat in Afghanistan.

The US-led International Assistance Force announced the change in strategy after an unprecedented number of Western soldiers were shot dead by their local colleagues and amid an angry backlash over a US-made film deemed offensive to Islam.

Experts say the move is a setback for NATO’s long-held strategy of containing an 11-year Taliban insurgency by training and advising Afghan forces to take over as most of its troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Distrust

Taliban, the main militant group leading the insurgency, said it had “forced” NATO commanders into the decision by sowing distrust among Afghan and foreign troops.

According to NATO, the Taliban are only involved in a quarter of Afghan security personnel attacks on Western soldiers. It attributes the rest to grudges, misunderstandings and cultural differences.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said:

This is the result of the mujahideen’s operations and tactics that forced the enemy to abandon their plans.
This is an achievement for the mujahideen who have managed to create mistrust among the enemy forces and, God willing, this is the start of their overall defeat in Afghanistan.

The surge of so-called insider attacks, unprecedented in modern warfare, have seen Afghan troops opening fire on their NATO colleagues 36 times this year, killing 51 foreign troops — most of them Americans.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry was moved to a secure position and put under guard due to a Taliban attack on the country’s Camp Bastion, the BBC reports. The Taliban said they chose to attack that particular base because of the Prince’s presence there.

Speaking to BBC news, the defence secretary Philip Hammond said that Prince Harry is serving as an ordinary officer, but because he could be a target himself, additional security arrangements are in place.

- Additional reporting AFTP

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