The Daily Banter Headline Grab. From The Guardian:
The retreat of western forces from Afghanistan could come sooner than expected, the head of Nato has said as he conceded that the recent Taliban strategy of "green on blue" killings had been successful in sapping morale.
In an interview with the Guardian Nato's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, responded to pressure for a faster withdrawal from Afghanistan by stating that the options were being studied and should be clear within three months.
"From now until the end of 2014 you may see adaptation of our presence. Our troops can redeploy, take on other tasks, or even withdraw, or we can reduce the number of foreign troops," he said. "From now until the end of 2014 we will see announcements of redeployments, withdrawals or drawdown … If the security situation allows, I would not exclude the possibility that in certain areas you could accelerate the process."
Rasmussen admitted that the killings of almost 50 allied troops this year in "green on blue" attacks – Afghan security forces turning on their trainers and mentors – had damaged the relationship between the international forces and the Afghan police and military.
"There's no doubt insider attacks have undermined trust and confidence, absolutely," he said.
Nato aims to have an Afghan security force of 352,000 taking over responsibility for the country in just over two years when the US-led combat operations are scheduled to end.