We’ve not heard too much about the progress in Afghanistan since the start of the troop surge, as a matter of fact, it seems the media is quite silent about the coalition efforts. I’m always concerned about the rules of engagement, and a Sept. 2009 incident highlights the concerns.
Again, this is from a Sept. 8, 2009 incident involving US and Afghan troops in Kunar province. The report, highlighted on the Marine Corps Times Web site, was recently released and staff writer Dan Lamothe writes the story.
Pinned down at dawn in a kill zone and running low on ammunition, the company-sized patrol made an urgent plea from a remote spot in eastern Afghanistan: Send help.
Then they made it again. And again. And again.
Nearly two hours after the initial call for help, helicopter air support arrived — but not before the unit took heavy casualties. The delay occurred because Army officers back at the tactical operations center refused to send help and failed to notify higher commands that they had troops in trouble. In the end, three Marines, a Navy corpsman and a soldier were dead, along with eight Afghan troops and an interpreter. …
The incident occurred as 13 U.S. military trainers, 60 Afghan soldiers and 20 border police officers traveled early in the morning to the remote village of Ganjgal to meet with village elders, according to a report by a McClatchy News journalist traveling with the unit when it was ambushed.
“The absence of senior leaders in the operations center with troops in contact in the … battlespace, and their consequent lack of situational awareness and decisive action, was the key failure in the events of 8 September 2009,” the report says. “The actions of … senior leaders were clearly negligent.”
Killed were Kenefick, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson Jr., 1st Lt. Michael Johnson and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton. The soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, died Oct. 7 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington from wounds he sustained in the attack.
Read the entire story.
I write a previous story on the rules of engagement in Afghanistan on Feb. 16. I’m wondering if the main stream media will do more research and reporting, but the Washington Times did release an editorial two days ago including this paragraph…
The rules of engagement are probably the most restrictive ever seen for a war of this nature. NATO forces cannot fire on suspected Taliban fighters unless they are clearly visible, armed and posing a direct threat. Buildings suspected of containing insurgents cannot be targeted unless it is certain that civilians are not also present. Air strikes and night raids are limited, and prisoners have to be released or transferred within four days, making for a 96-hour catch-and-release program.