KABUL, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The commander of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has released his counter-insurgency guideline and a revised tactical directives ordering troops to protect Afghan civilians, ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz said Sunday.
"August began with General Petraeus' release of his counterinsurgency guidance and a revised tactical directive," Blotz told a weekly press briefing here.
The most important change from last year's guidance is directing subordinate commanders not to further restrict Gen. Petraeus' guidance without his approval, he stated.
"This process says the top strategic priority is the protection of population," he noted.
However, he said, "Nothing in the guidance prevents commanders from protecting the lives of their men and women as a matter of self-defense where it is determined no other options are available to effectively counter the threat," he further asserted.
The spokesman of over 130,000-strong NATO-led forces further said that the 'Tactical Directive' reinforces the concept of " disciplined use of force" in our partnership with Afghan Security Forces to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan.
"We must continue-indeed, redouble our efforts to reduce the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum, and this is the key passage of conveying Gen. Petraeus' direction on this important point," ISAF spokesman emphasized.
He made this remarks in the wake of reported killing of civilians by NATO-led troops during operations against Taliban militants.
Thirty nine civilians including women and children, according to government, were killed by NATO-led troops during operation against Taliban insurgents in the troubled Helmand province late last June while several others, according to locals were killed in eastern Nangarhar province last week.
President Hamid Karzai while strongly condemning such incidents has called on NATO-led troops to avoid harming non-combatants.