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Afghan, NATO Servicemen to Continue Joint Operations

RIA Novosti

22:11 18/09/2012 MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Afghan servicemen will keep conducting joint operations with NATO on the battalion, brigade and corps level, Gen. Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for the country’s Defense Ministry, told the Pajhwok news agency on Tuesday.

He said “joint operations on levels below battalion have been suspended due to the appearance of a film discrediting the Prophet Mohammad.”

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement on Tuesday: “Recent media coverage regarding a change in ISAF's model of Security Force Assistance (SFA) to the Afghan National Security Forces is not accurate.”

“ISAF remains absolutely committed to partnering with, training, advising and assisting our ANSF counterparts. The ISAF SFA model is focused at the battalion level and above, with exceptions approved by senior commanders. Partnering occurs at all levels, from Platoon to Corps. This has not changed,” it said.

“In response to elevated threat levels resulting from the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video, ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary, measures to reduce our profile and vulnerability to civil disturbances or insider attacks,” ISAF said.

“This means that in some local instances, operational tempo has been reduced, or force protection has been increased. These actions balance the tension of the recent video with force protection, while maintaining the momentum of the campaign,” it said.

ISAF also said such measures had been taken before and worked well.

Over 50 foreign soldiers and officers have been killed by Afghan police officers and servicemen since the start of the year.

“Innocence of Muslims” is a anti-Islam video recently released in the United States that has sparked outrage and riots throughout the Muslim world.

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