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NATO Rebuilding Joint Operations With Afghans

The Pentagon says most NATO-led troops have resumed joint operations with Afghan forces after commanders restricted patrols with their allies in Afghanistan earlier this month.

The limitations have been set after a spike in insider attacks in which members of Afghan security forces turn their weapons on their Western allies.

At least 51 foreign troops have been killed in such attacks this year.

Speaking at a Pentagon news conference on September 27, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the insider threat would not derail plans to transfer security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, paving the way for the withdrawal of most NATO combat troops.

AP news agency quoted a U.S. defense official as saying that as of September 27, more than half the operations included both coalition and Afghan forces.

That compares to 90 percent of operations that included NATO and Afghan troops before the new restrictions were implemented nearly two weeks ago.

U.S. military officers also acknowledged that a new approval process that required senior commanders to endorse joint patrols was still in place.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP