Author Topic: NATO Blinks, Calls For Forces To Retreat From Taliban If Civilians At Risk  (Read 7975 times)

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Offline GAP

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NATO Blinks, Calls For Forces To Retreat From Taliban If Civilians At Risk
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This is so bad, I can't put it completely into words. NATO, after some mixed reports of civilian casualties due to three U.S. airstrikes that hit civilians in Afghanistan, has decided to change rules of engagement in the war with the Taliban such that if civilians are at risk, NATO forces will withdraw from firefights and NOT call in airstrikes.

Here's some of the details of the bad news from Radio Free Europe:

NATO has ordered its troops in Afghanistan to pull back from firefights with the Taliban rather than call in air strikes that might kill civilians, Afghan and NATO officials said.

NATO defense ministers endorsed the restriction at a summit in Budapest last week after three U.S. air strikes killed more than 100 Afghan civilians in the three months."All agreed that civilian casualties earn a bad name for both the Afghan government and the presence of international troops in Afghanistan," Defense Minister Abdul Raheem Wardak told a news conference in Kabul after returning from the NATO summit.

If there is a risk to civilians, troops have now been ordered to withdraw if they can, rather than order bombings that would earn a short-term victory but boost Taliban opponents in the longer term.That should lead to a drop in the number of air strikes, which are up sharply from last year, said a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

I have two things to say about this: 1. First of all, the Afghan government and President Karzai need to make a decision - either they keep their country free and they retain control and support a full effort by NATO or they decide to go this route and ensure that the government will fall to the Taliban and 2. This new policy ENSURES failure for NATO forces due to the tactics of the Taliban.

The most ridiculous part of this stance is the fact that the Taliban are notorious for using Afghan villages as a part of their battle tactics. It's simple - the Taliban approach is to ambush NATO patrols, then they flee into Afghan villages, force their way into the homes of the people and use those Afghan civilians as human shields. So, if I am a U.S. commander or a Dutch commander or Canadian commander....under these new rules of engagement, why would I even go out on patrol??!! This is nothing but bloody suicide.

Mark my words, the number of ambushes by the Taliban will soar upon this news. And let's not forget this. President Karzai, who is behind this whole change in stance, has watched thousands of his people murdered in Taliban suicide bombings, attacks and IED attacks and has to own up to that. Karzai can't keep his people safe by allowing more Taliban to live. And if these new rules of engagement go the way I suspect they will, we will see growing apathy from NATO forces and the eventual withdrawl of NATO countries from the entire War in Afghanistan.
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Touching on the same theme, shared with the usual disclaimer....

Taliban Tactics Defeat Bombers
Strategy Page, 15 Oct 08
Article link

Although the U.S. Air Force has three times as many aircraft in Iraq, it has been dropping more bombs this year in Afghanistan. Not that many bombs are dropped. So far this year, there have been only about 2,000 instances of aircraft weapons being used, and sometimes that consists of a fighter or A-10 strafing run, or cannon fired from an AC-130 gunship. Just as frequently, the warplanes will perform a "shows of force" (a low level pass, sometimes breaking the sound barrier for additional, booming, effect.)

These air attacks have a devastating effect on the Taliban, al Qaeda and bandits that NATO, U.S. and Afghan troops encounter. The best defense the enemy has come up with is to take shelter in a compound or building filled with civilians. But many of the civilians have come to realize how this works, and will often flee when the bad guys show up looking for a place to stay. That often results in the Taliban forcing the civilians to remain, often at gunpoint. The Taliban know that mingling with civilians will sometimes cause the Americans to not bomb, and that if they do bomb, the dead civilians are turned into powerful propaganda ("American war crimes…"), that puts more pressure on the U.S. to further tighten the ROE (Rules of Engagement, under what circumstances bombs can be dropped.)

It's gotten to the point where no bombs, or even cannon fire, are allowed if civilians are present and U.S. ground troops are not in immediate danger. In many cases, the bad guys use this opportunity (troops outside the compound, bombers overhead, civilians all about) to sneak off into the night and get away, and kill another day. The ground commander can often get permission to bomb before the target flees, but only if the right people in the chain of command (sometimes going all the way back to Washington) are awake and reachable in time. But more and more often, the bombs are not dropped, and the Taliban win another one.

When American troops are under attack, and in danger, the ROE is a lot more permissive, even if there are civilians in the area. But the Taliban are getting more creative in their use of human shields, which has, so far, proved to be the only tactic that can defeat smart bombs and American air power.



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Offline retiredgrunt45

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Well we all know what the taliban are going to do from now on, don't we? They'll just make sure their positions are in highly populated areas and watch as NATO troops, retreat over the horizon.

Politics are at it again. What's next? Issue the troops with blank ammunition and have them yell, Bang, Bang. What's the difference!

 ??? ??? ???
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Disgusting,simply disgusting it appears now that the taliban have free reign over the battlespace, way to surrender the advantage NATO!!!

Offline GAP

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Quote
The ground commander can often get permission to bomb before the target flees, but only if the right people in the chain of command (sometimes going all the way back to Washington) are awake and reachable in time.


Hmmmm....I remember the exact same conditions....(why are we fighting wars the leadership have no intention of winning...?)
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Offline Mr.Newf

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I'm at a loss for words right now.

What the hell NATO??

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Offline greyman_11

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This is definitely some messed up s***.

Nothing happens until something moves.

Offline Rider Pride

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No problem, our tactic will be to withdraw from contact and immediatly set up defensive and blocking positions....

and wait for the f%$#@s to eventually come out in the open.

In the meantime, every second man will be armed with video cameras so that we can record that the TB is using populated areas and prove thier use of human shields to the world.
"Return with your shield, or upon it."

Offline Tow Tripod

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Ummm,
With the exception of Prairie Dog I would think that everybody in this forum should GEAR DOWN. Lets take a step back. The order was to withdraw "IF THEY CAN" . The Taliban already occupy the villages( BATTLESPACE) and without Positive Identification (PID) nothing will happen anyways. The terrain is so complex in there that half the time PID is only a muzzle flash or a smoke trail to indicate the presents of a 82mm rocket or RPG.Personally I comfortable that any Canadian Commander should be able to apply the ROE to inflict harm on our enemy and not on innocent bystanders not to say that accidents will not happen. The enemy will always have a say on our operations  at all times. We are not fighting the cold war here and the population will never be swayed to help ISAF if we continue to kill by accident women and children. The Taliban IO campaign is top notch in comparison to NATO. I think it would be a great idea that PD put forward and made a soldier or two wear a video camera on the side of their helmet and maybe we could do a better job at informing the general public about how the Taliban employ human shields.That would take a PAFO to grab this topic by the horn and because the PRT and the OMLT are of the highest PR relevance I highly doubt that this would occur. Getting back to PID, I witness on more than one occasion Fire Missions scrubbed because the enemy already had women and children in their proximity. So in a way we are already doing this. Just my 2 cents on a great topic.

Tow Tripod
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Offline Old Sweat

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Good post, Tow Tripod, even if your profile is, shall we say, ambiguous.

Let's get some clairification from the folks on the ground, opsec permitting, on the implications before we jump to conclusions.

Offline Good2Golf

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Concur with PD and TT.  The folks who have the classified ROE on the ground know what the ROE is.  There is no reason to doubt that JTF-A CoC is anything less than fully capable of effecting operations in full compliance of the ROE.

Offline TheHead

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Agreed TT.  I don't get what people are getting so pissed off about. If the Taliban run into civilian homes we shouldn't be dropping crap on them in the first place.  At this point I'd rather save 1 civilian life than kill 100 Taliban. We can always get those bastards later.
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Offline Tow Tripod

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Old Sweat (Sir) & all,
I have updated my ambiguous profile. Yours is a typical respones on Army.ca. The only thing that I will say is that I feel people(GAP, MAM_933, The Beaver, MG34, retiredgrunt45 )maybe underestimating the intelligence of our troops on the ground with the application of ROE. I realize that due to OPSEC responsibilities about this subject it makes it even more delicate to discuss. However I think it might be appalling to think that the only way for a Canadian Commander to deal with a situation is to drop a 500 lb bomb in every situation. Don't get me wrong if it takes a 500lb then so be it. However Commanders discretion will come into play. This is why they get the big bucks now, right??? I am up to 3 cents now!!!

Tow Tripod
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I think this is just NATO doing some propaganda of it's own.....
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Old Sweat (Sir) & all,
I have updated my ambiguous profile. Yours is a typical respones on Army.ca. The only thing that I will say is that I feel people(GAP, MAM_933, The Beaver, MG34, retiredgrunt45 )maybe underestimating the intelligence of our troops on the ground with the application of ROE. I realize that due to OPSEC responsibilities about this subject it makes it even more delicate to discuss. However I think it might be appalling to think that the only way for a Canadian Commander to deal with a situation is to drop a 500 lb bomb in every situation. Don't get me wrong if it takes a 500lb then so be it. However Commanders discretion will come into play. This is why they get the big bucks now, right??? I am up to 3 cents now!!!

Tow Tripod

Don't you worry yourself,been there done that and got the T Shirts. The fact is that this is yet another case of bureaucrats stepping in to limit the troops on the ground. It began in early 07 and still continues today. This is part and parcel of why we are still fighting for the same piece ground despite several battlegroups and troop surges in the area. TF 306 set the conditions to secure the area, since then "we" have pissed away our hold on that patch of real estate, due to  weakening of the ROE , this further degrades it.
 It's all fine and dandy to play lip service to the "hearts and minds" routine for the press, but the fact is the PRT has met limited success due to the security situation on the ground, the only way to improve that is to pound the Taliban when ever they pop their heads up, not by retreating or limiting our options at the first risk of collateral damage, giving them a chance to escape (seen it happen on several occasions myself).
 

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Why does the MSM not report Taliban tactics of hiding amongst the population? I would daresay it's newsworthy, but maybe not as newsworthy as a US pilot dropping a 500 pounder on a compound full of people and killing women and children. We really need to gear up our Information war by presenting to the public what the Taliban do and have done in the past.
I do not think most Canadians know why we are there in the first place. Sorry about wandering off topic.
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Offline Harris

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Some points to think about/discuss

1.  There are two types of insurgents (IMO) in Afghanistan:
     a.  Tier one - Hard core TB, AQ, foreign fighters etc...  They intend to fight us no matter what we do.
     b.  Tier two - Locals who are simply trying to put food on the table, support their family, etc...

2.  IMO by killing innocent civilians we create more Tier one fighters, and possibly increase the recruiting of Tier two fighters.  If we kill someones wife, husband, etc... I suspect they are more likely to join the Tier two forces.  Probably so to will their husbands, uncles, brothers etc...

3.  If we limit as much as possible (within ROE of course) these unnecessary killings, and focus on the Tier one fighters, I believe we will reduce the numbers of both Tier one/two fighters.

4.  To do this we need to focus on a holistic approach.  In my perfect world I'd try to do it like this:
     a.  focus on killing tier one fighters by targetting HQ cells, known leaders, ingress routes, etc...
     b.  provide an alternate for the tier two fighters.  Most I would say, would more than happy to put down their arms if they had an alternate way to provide for their families (and are safe from Tier one reprisals).
     c.  let a Tier one guy "get away" rather than create more Tier one/two folks by killing an innocent.
     d.  as mentioned earlier in this thread, do a much better job of getting "our" side of the story out.  PA Ops is key to this IMO, but we just don't have that capability yet.  Nor is it understood well IMO.

I welcome thoughts on this.
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Offline Huzzah

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Why does the MSM not report Taliban tactics of hiding amongst the population? I would daresay it's newsworthy, but maybe not as newsworthy as a US pilot dropping a 500 pounder on a compound full of people and killing women and children. We really need to gear up our Information war by presenting to the public what the Taliban do and have done in the past.
I do not think most Canadians know why we are there in the first place. Sorry about wandering off topic.

  I have very little respect for the MSM in Canada.A majority of so-called "journalists/reporters" seem
to be too ignorant of facts/reality themselves to educate the Canadian public.They're looking for the
sensational to report on,to make a name for themselves.
  I also believe that most of the MSM have very little respect for the Military,and their leftist ideologies
taint and distort most of their reporting.
 

Offline time expired

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HARRIS,Concur,as long as it doesn't cost the life of ONE of our guys.When we
start losing men so that the politicians can appear as great humanitarians its
time to either get robust or stay inside the wire.
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Offline TacticalW

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I don't think I'm the only one who suspects that this might encourage a lot more activity with many taking up arms because they feel as if they can get paid and go through with these acts with impunity. I agree in part with Harris, but in the end we can't really be sure exactly which effect will occur and to what level. Hopefully the pros outweigh the cons, but somehow I'm thinking that the cons will be much heavier.

Offline Tow Tripod

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Ummm, MG34
I promise that this will be my last post on this subject. As you know everbody walks away from their tour with different thoughts. I believe that we are fighting for the same piece of ground since 2006 based on our manning of the AOR. I never felt that the ROE's was an issue. It is by no means perfect however its better than the earlier 1990's (Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia)Obviously the mandate was completely different then as to now. My Tshirt will read TF 1-08, ROE was never an issue in big black letters on my back!!!  (Kidding)

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Offline twistedcables

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HARRIS - good thoughts.  I agree especially with point 2; this has been seen everywhere a theatre is in place.  I also agree with 4c but maybe a more aggressive approach to 4a would mitigate that probability.  The trouble is with 4b - the CF's mandate is not to provide an alternative in as much as an Afghan civilian can take advantage of it.  The CF alone could not possibly do it in my estimation.

It is worthy to note that the pre-TB Mujahideen (who were at one point the good guys) killed more civilians than even the TB (who were also at one point good guys) --- and yes I use the term very loosely --- who since their mobilization in 1994 have simply continued that tradition.  YET, everyone ELSE is made to look like they target civilians.

I think NATO is trying to mitigate the damage that is done, especially when news of civilian deaths are used as propaganda so that there can be some effort to undermine the TB.  However, if you read Ghost Wars and Forbidden Truth - maybe you too will come to the conclusion I did that the TB are far more advanced in their approach to fighting the war.  Heck, they've been at it since 1979!!!
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Offline GAP

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Ummm, MG34
I promise that this will be my last post on this subject. As you know everbody walks away from their tour with different thoughts. I believe that we are fighting for the same piece of ground since 2006 based on our manning of the AOR. I never felt that the ROE's was an issue. It is by no means perfect however its better than the earlier 1990's (Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia)Obviously the mandate was completely different then as to now. My Tshirt will read TF 1-08, ROE was never an issue in big black letters on my back!!!  (Kidding)

Tow Tripod

It feels like we invented that wonderful, renewable makework project 30+ years ago.....we cleared areas, bunkers, pacified villages, then left, 2 weeks/2 months we were back doing the same thing, ................repeat
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Offline gun runner

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 "It is worthy to note that the pre-TB Mujahideen (who were at one point the good guys) killed more civilians than even the TB (who were also at one point good guys)"
And who says power doesn't corrupt... it is obviously the rule rather than the exception in the cases of these two militant factions. This is why we are having such a hard time in this fight. GAP said it was the same for his war... do we not learn from history? I feel that this is not the direction we should be going as an army of liberators ,IMHO. Ubique
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