New Rule: No Fighting Near Afghan Homes - WTF?

New Rule: No Fighting Near Afghan Homes - WTF?

June 22, 2009
Associated Press

KABUL - The top U.S. general in Afghanistan will soon formally order U.S. and NATO forces to break away from fights with militants hiding in Afghan houses so the battles do not kill civilians, a U.S. official said Monday.

The order would be one of the strongest measures taken by a U.S. commander to protect Afghan civilians in battle. American commanders say such deaths hurt their mission because they turn average Afghans against the government and U.S. and NATO forces.

Civilian casualties are a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. The U.N. says U.S., NATO and Afghan forces killed 829 civilians in the Afghan war last year.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who took command of international forces in Afghanistan this month, has said his measure of effectiveness will be the "number of Afghans shielded from violence," and not the number of militants killed.

McChrystal will issue orders within days saying troops may attack insurgents hiding in Afghan houses if the U.S. or NATO forces are in imminent danger and must return fire, said U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Greg Smith.

"But if there is a compound they're taking fire from and they can remove themselves from the area safely, without any undue danger to the forces, then that's the option they should take," Smith said. "Because in these compounds we know there are often civilians kept captive by the Taliban."

McChrystal's predecessor, Gen. David McKiernan, issued rules last fall that told commanders to set conditions "to minimize the need to resort to deadly force."

But McChrystal's orders will be more precise and have stronger language ordering forces to break off from battles, Smith said.

In the most recent civilian deaths case, a May 4-5 battle between U.S. and Afghan forces and militants in western Farah province killed dozens of civilians. A U.S. report last week said U.S. forces killed an estimated 26 civilians. However, Karzai's government says 140 were killed, while an Afghan human rights group says the number is about 100.

In the latest violence, a suicide bomber on a motorbike killed seven civilians Monday when he drove into the center of an eastern Afghan city and set off explosives.

It was unclear who the bomber was targeting when he detonated a bomb on his motorbike in front of Khost city's electric power headquarters and then explosives on his body a few minutes later, said Kuchi Naseri, a spokesman for the governor of Khost province. The Interior Ministry said seven people were killed.

There were no military or police nearby, Naseri said, but added the later blast may have been planned to hit police or officials rushing to the scene. Another 30 people in the area were wounded, he said.

In southern Kandahar province, meanwhile, another suicide bomber killed three Afghan soldiers in an attack on a convoy of troops inspecting a highway bridge for explosives. The attacker drove a car into the convoy and it exploded, said Zadi district Police Chief Niaz Mohammad Serhadi.

Serhadi said two civilians were also wounded in the blast, along with five other soldiers.

In eastern Nangarhar province, an explosion at a weapons cache killed a 6-year-old boy and wounded 20 others, police said.

It was unclear what sparked the chain reaction of explosions in caves used to store weapons and other material collected from insurgents on the outskirts of Jalalabad city, said Nangarhar province police spokesman Ghafor Khan.

"We are still investigating the incident. It is possible that the explosives ignited on their own," Khan said.

The caves where the weapons were stored were about 100 yards (meters) away from a village, and the blast shot some shells or other items into the residential area, Khan said. Two soldiers who guarded the cache were among the wounded.

8 Comments

5 years 25 weeks ago, 8:42 AM

charley9toe

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This is just stupid

and is going to cost both U.S. and Allied lives. This is like LBJ stopping ARC-light strikes in RVN to get the NVA to talk. It just make me sick to think about it. These villagers aren't without means to deny the Taliban entry or at least put up a fight. And, BTW; Why don't we just lock up Karzai and his brother and most of the government for Narcotics trafficking. A whole lot of the current issues would go away then.

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5 years 25 weeks ago, 8:57 AM

samD

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C9toe

What other resource, besides heroin, does Afghanistan export? Dust?
Camel burgers. So if we simply stopped the poppy production, we could send the Pashtuns into oblivian?

5 years 25 weeks ago, 9:25 AM

charley9toe

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samD

Actually the crop conversion has worked rather effectively in locations where the farming community has some safety. They can produce some crops (example;hops,barley) that sell for a higher price than poppy. If the Afghan government wasn't so predisposed with lining their own pockets, just maybe the people they represent would receive at least some of the benefits we have poured into that Nation over the years. The biggest issue I believe they have is water distribution for farming and a communications system to get their crops into trade stalls everywhere.. The water is there, it just isn't always where they need it. In fact, the Iranians are scared the water they are getting to Sistan Province might be stopped by the Afghanis. Little reported but the Iranians raise hell about lack of water quite often. Kind of like Arizona, huh. The roadways are slowly being built with everybody on earth being paid off. That's my take on it.

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5 years 25 weeks ago, 10:11 AM

GLOCKSTER

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thats bs

thats bs

If guns are outlawed I'LL BE AN OUTLAW!!!!!!!!! If guns kill people then beds cause pregnancy.
5 years 25 weeks ago, 10:39 AM

charley9toe

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glockster

what part of this forum post is bs ?

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5 years 25 weeks ago, 10:50 AM

charley9toe

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clearance to fire

I just saw film on FOX News where an Apache Pilot (In Direct Support of a U.S. ground element) asked for clearance to fire on 8 Taliban (all armed)six (6) times before clearance was granted. Then he was asking for clearance to fire at each target event. That is crap.

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5 years 25 weeks ago, 11:55 AM

rounder

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...with one hand tied behind your back.

5 years 25 weeks ago, 11:50 AM

charley9toe

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rounder

they can build it again. jobs, man, jobs.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
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