Of all the awful things this administration has done over the years, this has to be near the top of the list. After all, why are we even there if we have to run a stupid checklist before we can kill a Taliban? And why are we letting the Taliban help set the rules of engagement?
WASHINGTON TIMES – The new U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement adds restrictions on already bureaucratic rules of engagement for American troops by making Afghan dwellings virtual safe havens for the enemy, combat veterans say.
The rules of engagement place the burden on U.S. air and ground troops to confirm with certainty that a Taliban fighter is armed before they can fire — even if they are 100 percent sure the target is the enemy. In some cases, aerial gunships have been denied permission to fire even though they reported that targets on the move were armed.
The proposed Bilateral Security Agreement announced Wednesday by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Secretary of State John F. Kerry all but prohibits U.S. troops from entering dwellings during combat. President Obama made the vow directly to Mr. Karzai.
“U.S. forces shall not enter Afghan homes for the purposes of military operations, except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S. nationals,” Mr. Obama pledged in a letter to the Afghan leader.
Even before the security agreement’s rules of engagement were drafted, troops complained about meeting the requirements of an increasingly burdensome checklist before they can fire. The rules grew stricter in 2010 after a series of mistaken U.S. bombings killed civilians and special operations troops raided villages and homes at night.
The rules of engagement today also place restrictions on dwelling assaults, but Mr. Obama’s language of “extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk of life and limb” sets the bar much higher.
Said retired Army Col. Ken Allard, now a military analyst: “Call me crazy, but what on earth is the point of remaining there under these [rules of engagement], much less subjecting American soldiers to another set of restrictions that make sense only in proportion to your distance from the combat zone?”