BERLIN (Agencies) The approach to combating the drug mafia in Afghanistan has spurred an open rift inside Nato. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, top Nato commander John Craddock wants the alliance to kill opium dealers, without proof of connection to the insurgency. NATO commanders, however, do not want to follow the order. A dispute has emerged among Nato High Command in Afghanistan regarding the conditions under which alliance troops can use deadly violence against those identified as insurgents. In a classified document, which SPIEGEL has obtained, Nato's top commander, US General John Craddock, has issued a "guidance" providing Nato troops with the authority "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan." According to the document, deadly force is to be used even in those cases where there is no proof that suspects are actively engaged in the armed resistance against the Afghanistan government or against Western troops. It is "no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective," Craddock writes. Craddock rationalises his directive by writing that the alliance "has decided that (drug traffickers and narcotics facilities) are inextricably linked to the Opposing Military Forces, and thus may be attacked." In the document, Craddock writes that the directive is the result of an October 2008 meeting of Nato defence ministers in which it was agreed that NATO soldiers in Afghanistan may attack opium traffickers. The directive was sent on Jan 5 to Egon Ramms, the German leader at Nato Command in Brunssum, Netherlands, which is currently in charge of the Nato Isaf mission, as well as David McKiernan, the commander of the Isaf peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Neither want to follow it. Both consider the order to be illegitimate and believe it violates both ISAF rules of engagement and international law, the "Law of Armed Conflict." A classified letter issued by McKiernan's Kabul office in response claims that Craddock is trying to create a "new category" in the rules of engagement for dealing with opposing forces that would "seriously undermine the commitment Isaf has made to the Afghan people and the international community ... to restrain our use of force and avoid civilian casualties to the greatest degree predictable." German Nato General Ramms made it perfectly clear in his answer to General Craddock that he was not prepared to deviate from the current rules of engagement for attacks, which reportedly deeply angered Craddock. The US General, who is considered a loyal Bush man and fears that he could be replaced by the new US president, has already made his intention known internally that he would like to relieve any commander who doesn't want to follow his instructions to go after the drug mafia of his duties.