Gen McChrystal Orders ROE ReviewApril 14, 2010 - 12:17 AM | by: Conor Powell
KABUL- One day after US troops mistakenly opened fire on a passenger bus in Kandahar, killing four civilians and wounding 18, the top American commander in Afghanistan has ordered a mandatory review of the rules of engagement by all American and coalition forces.
Last year, Gen. Stanley McChrystal implemented strict new rules limiting the use of air power and restricting the troops ability to fire on insurgents unless they were certain no civilians were in harm’s way.
Despite the new rules, Afghans civilian deaths have continued to mount – though a recent UN report says that the number of Afghans killed by coalitions troops has been reduced.
The recent civilian deaths, which provoked large protests in Kandahar city Monday, could not have come at a worse time for coalition commanders. US and Afghan officials are actively trying to persuade skeptical tribal elders to support the upcoming offensive in Kandahar – and tensions were already high before the bus shooting. According to several US officials who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, the mandatory review is a direct response to the growing concern that “additional civilian deaths will undermine the upcoming NATO offensive in Kandahar.”
Earlier this spring, Gen. McChrystal told coalition troops that most of the shootings at military check points were unnecessary, and urged troops to use more caution when making decisions to fire.