Most U.S. and NATO combat troops have resumed joint operations with Afghan forces, the Pentagon said Thursday, although U.S. officials said they remain worried about the threat of fratricidal “insider attacks.”
U.S. commanders had substantially scaled back the joint operations 10 days ago in an urgent effort to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. and NATO troops.
At a news conference, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said “most” U.S. and NATO units had “returned to their normal partnered operations” with their Afghan allies. But he offered few details, and other Pentagon officials offered conflicting accounts of how many missions were still being conducted separately.
A spike in the number of insider attacks has undercut the U.S. strategy to end the war by training hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police to take over responsibility for fighting the Taliban and other insurgents. The Obama administration has pledged to end the current U.S. combat mission by the end of 2014.