Adding to the growing number of official voices calling for a major paring down of the McChrystal-era restrictions on endangering civilian lives in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Sir Nick Parker today demanded that the doctrine be “reconsidered,” warning that it was “too restrictive.”
Lt. Gen. Parker, the top British commander in Afghanistan, says that the restrictions have “over-corrected” the problem over civilian deaths, despite the fact that large numbers of civilians continue to be killed across the nation, and said it needed to be brought back into line.
Parker said that in particular troops in more dangerous areas should be allowed to act freely, saying it was vital that the troops be allowed to use “all the tools at their disposal”
Gen. McChrystal, the former Afghan commander, continued to add restrictions about air strikes in densely populated civilian areas and restrictions on night raids during his brief tenure, though repeated escalation of the war meant the civilian tolls continued to rise despite any efforts taken.
Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander, is widely expected to remove most of the restrictions on the rules of engagement following growing claims that the efforts to curb civilian deaths are “harming morale,” particularly as the number of NATO soldiers killed rises to record levels.
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