Petraeus promises to review 'Rules of Engagement' in Afghanistan

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Washington, July 9 (ANI): General David H. Petraeus has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will take a hard look and review the "Rules of Engagement" in Afghanistan.

The Rules of Engagement are approved by the Secretary of Defense and NATO and describe the circumstances under which force can be initiated or continued.

According to the Washington Post, military officials have said that the examination will include discussions with troops around the country, military officials said.

General Petraeus will not rescind the directive, but instead will issue revised guidance in the coming days in an attempt to streamline procedures and ensure uniformity in how the rules are implemented.

The paper also states that with insurgent attacks increasing across Afghanistan, frustration about rules of engagement is growing among troops, and among some members of Congress.

The controversy started with a tactical directive issued in July 2009 by Petraeus's predecessor, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, that limits the use of air and mortar strikes against houses unless personnel are in imminent danger.

The directive requires troops to take extensive measures, including a 48-hour "pattern of life" analysis with on-the-ground or aerial surveillance, to ensure that civilians are not in a housing compound before ordering an air strike.

Despite claims from some relatives of military personnel killed in Afghanistan that the directive has limited the ability of troops to defend themselves, the officials said a review by the U.S. military of every combat fatality over the past year has found no evidence that the rules restricted the use of lifesaving firepower.

"We have not found a single situation where a soldier has lost his life because he was not allowed to protect himself," one of the officials said. (ANI)

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