From Chris Lawrence
Some U.S. commanders in Afghanistan are instituting heightened security in the wake of recent events to protect against potential retaliation. Some of the precautions were put in place in the wake of the Quran burning incident, a senior defense official tells CNN.
The measures include adding a second U.S. soldier to watch towers, where before there was one American and one Afghan on watch. American and Afghan forces live together on many of the smaller bases and outposts, and on some of these the U.S. has instituted a 24-hour guard of their barracks.
The official would not specifically confirm the procedures in place at each forward operating base, but said "Those changes are all within the right of any commander to institute. I won't deny that several may have felt it was necessary to do so."
The official says battalion and even company commanders at combat outposts are "given the discretion and authority to weigh their individual security concerns and take appropriate action."
He said these security changes "are not coming from the top," meaning directed by International Security Assistance Force or the Pentagon.
The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces said the mission should continue, said another military official, Capt. John Kirby. Kirby said that while force protection is "always a priority," there has not been an increase in protection forces overall, Kirby said.
"The way to get beyond that is continuing to engage (General) John Allen gave direction to his commanders on Saturday right after hearing about this incident to continue to engage, to keep getting out there, to keep partnering with the afghan forces," Pentagon spokesman Kirby said in an interview on CNN on Monday. "It's absolutely vital that we try to move past this. the only way to move past this is to continue to engage and to operate with the Afghan partners."