The war in Afghanistan is proceeding at a much slower pace than most previous wars because of caution on the part of American soldiers to avoid killing innocent civilians. Some soldiers complain the rules of engagement require the enemy to initially fire before they can retaliate. Some soldiers claim a Taliban militant can fire at them, put down his weapon and walk away into a crowd of civilians without being shot. Cpl. Travis Anderson told a reporter, “I understand the reasons behind it, but it’s so hard to fight a war like this. They’re using our rules of engagement against us.” Military officials argue killing civilians or destroying property only results in greater anger and recruitment for the Taliban of disgruntled civilians. It was public anger in Afghanistan which led General McChrystalto tighten the rules of warfare.
The new rules require soldiers to post some questions such as: even if someone shot in my direction, am I still in danger, will I make more enemies if I destroy property or are there alternatives to dealing with the problem other than shooting weapons?
As is so often said, war is hell, but in Afghanistan, war is peace.