NATO's decision limiting some operations with Afghan troops might lessen so-called insider attacks, analysts say.
But the move could undermine the coalition's efforts to help the locals take over their nation's security.
Coalition forces have been regularly partnering with small Afghan units in operations for years.
But in an order Sunday from Gen. John Allen, head of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, a regional commander now must give the OK for a joint operation, a move seen as a setback to the transition of military power to Afghans by the end of 2014.
The spurt of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their coalition counterparts and the anger of the anti-Islam video that went viral across the world forced the NATO-led force to adjust the relations between coalition and Afghan forces.
"Every day you take away from them will reduce their effectiveness," analyst Bill Roggio said. "To me this is a major blow to our withdrawal strategy."
Roggio sees the only positive outcome as limiting future insider attacks. The negative is that when Afghan security forces go without partnership, they suffer. He said there's no indication the forces are ready to work on their own effectively.
"Whenever they are given more responsibility, they drop the ball," said Roggio, managing editor of the blog Long War Journal, which tracks the war on terror.
And, Roggio said, commanders can be risk-averse and may want to avoid giving the OK to joint patrols.
Stephen Biddle, adjunct senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said before the announcement, "every U.S. patrol or offensive operation in the country had Afghans out with them."
Now such steps will be unusual, and it's a sign that partnering isn't working.
"We have now decided apparently that partnering model of very close shoulder-to-shoulder interaction across the rank structure is too dangerous because of Afghans are shooting us when we do that."
He said underlying problems spurring insider attacks, such as politics and corruption, must be confronted.
Time is short, he said.
"We can't kick this can down the road very much longer before we run out of road and we may have already."
Jeffrey Dressler, a senior research analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, said if the coalition move is "temporary" and has "minimal operational effect," it could be a "wise decision."
But Dressler said militants might see the move to place restrictions on some patrols as a sign of weakness that could be exploited.
"This will come at a cost, potentially resulting in more 'green on blues' (attacks) once partnership resumes if the insurgency sees that the tactic is a successful one, namely, breaking the bonds between U.S. and Afghan forces," he said. "Sometimes it can embolden the enemy to be even more brazen and aggressive so that's something to be cautious of here with this announcement."
More than 50 coalition forces have died this year in insider or "green-on-blue" assaults, the name for the strikes by Afghan security forces.
Then there is the Afghan troop learning curve. Partnership and transition are paramount "going forward," Dressler said.
"You can't do that from afar," he said.
Stephanie Sanok, deputy director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said this move means that there will be fewer joint patrols.
And that results in fewer ideas about what, she said, security forces are "capable of and what they are willing to do."
"With fewer partnered patrols, we'll have less insight," she said.
But she said that Afghan security forces will embark on their own patrols, which could be illuminating. People will find out how competent they are after years of training and advice.