Afghanistan Sun (ANI) Wednesday 19th September, 2012 | The Taliban has claimed credit for NATO's decision of withdrawing joint operations with Afghan security forces, hailing it as the beginning of their overall defeat in Afghanistan.
The Islamist insurgent group 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.
"This is the result of the mujahideen's operations and tactics that forced the enemy to abandon their plans," The Telegraph quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed, as saying.
"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," he added.
The U.S.-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, the paper said.
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, it added.