From the Financial Times: However events develop, this operation marks a change in the way Nato operates in Afghanistan, ending the phase where the alliance’s operations in each province was dominated by a single nation – be it the British in Helmand or the Canadians in Kandahar.

“That will be very welcome to Nato commanders and to the Americans,” says Colonel Langton.

But as this new phase develops, all Nato countries – and especially the US – will want to see the Afghan national army playing a bigger and more visible part in the security aspects of the operation. “The US is making the headlines today,” says a Nato official. “But if we are to convince the Afghans that the Taliban have been defeated, their own security forces have to start taking the lead.”