Petraeus to review US limits on firepower

US General David Petraeus, nominated to take command of the Afghan war, promised to review rules limiting the use of force.

Afp June 29, 2010

US General David Petraeus, nominated to take command of the Afghan war, promised on Tuesday to review rules limiting the use of force by coalition troops, saying he was aware of soldiers’ complaints over the restrictions.

Petraeus told senators he was “keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement and the tactical directive. They should know that I will look very hard at this issue.”

The new rules, imposed by the former commander General Stanley McChrystal, limit air strikes and artillery and mortar fire to prevent civilian casualties, a goal that Petraeus said he fully endorsed.

“I will continue the emphasis on reducing the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum in the course of military operations,” he told senators at a hearing on his nomination as commander.

But he said it was crucial to ensure the rules were carried out without undue bureaucracy and that coalition and Afghan troops could defend themselves. “When our troopers and our Afghan partners are in a tough spot, it is a moral imperative that we use everything we have to make sure that they get out of it,” the general said.

He said he had conveyed his view to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the defense and interior ministers in Kabul since he was nominated to the commander’s post last week. “They are in full agreement with me on it,” he said.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said last week that Petraeus would have flexibility as commander to review tactics in the Afghan mission. General Petraeus is due to take over on July 4.

Meanwhile, an Afghan UN employee was killed when his vehicle came under fire in Kabul on Tuesday, raising the death toll for foreign troops rose to 100 in June, the deadliest month for Nato in nine years of conflict.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2010.


Zulfiqar Haider | 11 years ago | Reply The General has rightly mentioned that the efforts to minimize civilian casualties would be pursued in every possible way; the current efforts of brokering a peace deal between the Haqqani network and the Afghan government are also appreciable and if successful the whole scenario will change.
Hira Mir | 11 years ago | Reply A certain standard is required to win this war against the militants and right decision taken I think. We must eradicate these extremism elements from our soil as it has already taken thousand of Pakistani lives as well.
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