- 43 updates
NATO's top official has played down the significance of the decision to suspend joint patrols with the Afghan army.
Speaking in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen said the measures are "prudent and temporary" to protect the risk to troops, but that the overall strategy had not changed.
NATO announced today that joint patrols between NATO and Afghan forces on the ground would be suspended. The move has been described as a "tactical measure" in response to the increased tension and attacks sparked by an anti-Islam film across the country.
The Defence Secretary denied the move signaled any change in policy. Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.
Professor Michael Clarke form the Royal United Services Institute told ITV News the decision to suspend joint patrols between NATO soldiers and Afghan forces is a temporary measure to protect troops due to present inflamed tensions across the Middle East caused by the recent anti-Islam film.
Professor Clarke said there was a risk that the move would send a message to Afghans the Coalition may be 'wobbling' under the pressure, but he did not think this will turn out to be true.
Labour MP Paul Flynn suspended from the House of Commons for five days after he accused ministers from the Ministry of Defence of lying. Mr Flynn said:
"The role of our brave soldiers at the moment is to act as human shields for ministers' reputation. The danger to our soldiers is being prolonged by those on that (front) bench who have the power to stop it.
Isn't this very similar to the end of the First World War, when it was said that politicians lied and soldiers died and the reality was, as it is now, that our brave soldier lions are being led by ministerial donkeys?"
Labour MP Paul Flynn was suspended from the House of Commons today after accusing the Ministry of Defence ministerial team of lying over Afghanistan policy and then refusing to withdraw the remark.
Speaker John Bercow demanded the Newport West MP retract his statement but Mr Flynn refused, insisting it was more important for him to leave it on the record.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Mr Flynn's comments "were scandalous".
General Mohammad Zahir Azmi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence has told ITV News that NATO's announcement over scaling back on links with Afghan forces is not "something that helps us but nor is it something that worries us".
Mr Azmi said that the Afghan Army conducts their own independent operations without NATO, adding that some of the training and classwork on the ground will continue.
He also said that if their forces needed the partnership, that they can still get permission from regional commanders.
British military operations in Afghanistan will continue "substantially unchanged", after an order changing the way international troops train and mentor home-grown security forces, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told MPs today.
Mr Hammond said: "That means that the UK partnering and mentoring operations will continue substantially unchanged by this order.
"We have a strategic plan that takes us to the end of combat operations in 2014, while strengthening the ANSF to take over security responsibility from us. I have every confidence in the way COMISAF (the commander of ISAF) is executing that plan."
Ministers discussed the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the recent spate of attacks on embassies of Western countries across the Arab world, at this morning's weekly meeting of Cabinet in 10 Downing Street. Following the Cabinet meeting, Mr Cameron's official spokesman told reporters:
Conservative MP John Baron has responded to NATO's announcement today, during an urgent question over the situation regarding Afghanistan, saying that it "threatens to blow a hole in our stated exit strategy".
Mr Baron said the UK's strategy is "heavily reliant" on joint operations continuing until Afghan forces are able to adequately maintain a handover:
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond spoke to reporters outside of Downing Street today after an announcement made by NATO regarding scaling back links with Afghan forces.
Mr Hammond said that ISAF were only seeking to make sure "appropriate measures" were put in place when partnering with the ANSF.
Latest ITV News reports
Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted today that there had been 'no change' in strategy or tactics in Afghanistan.
Nato-led forces in Afghanistan are reportedly scaling back operations with Afghan forces after a wave of 'insider attacks'.