Jun 20 2009
New US battle rule: No fighting near Afghan homes. Of course, once Taliban fighters learn of the directive, civilian homes will be the perfect place to seek cover.
(AP) 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.” CBS NEWS
Apparently this BBC reporter hasn’t heard that U.S. Marines no longer will be able to SEEK OUT, CLOSE WITH, AND DESTROY THE ENEMIES’ WILL TO RESIST as long as they hide out with civilians.
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