Petraeus issues new Afghan directive
August 3rd, 2010
10:21 PM ET

Petraeus issues new Afghan directive

[Update: August 4, 2010] Gen. David Petraeus on Wednesday issued a new "tactical directive" for forces in Afghanistan that emphasizes guidance for the use of force by troops operating in the country.  The directive states that before firing, the commander authorizing a strike must determine that there are no civilians present. If the status of civilians is unknown, firing is prohibited except when certain types of risk to troops exist.

[Original post: August 3, 2010] Gen. David Petraeus is expected to soon issue a new "tactical directive" spelling out his views on how coalition air and ground operations should be conducted in Afghanistan, according to several U.S. and coalition military officials.

All of the officials CNN spoke to indicated Petraeus is not expected to reverse existing directives issued by the previous commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but instead characterized it as a clarification of the rules he put into place emphasizing protection of civilians on the battlefield.

The directive may do that by spelling out more clearly under what circumstances units must get permission to launch attacks to defend themselves, according to the sources.

The directive is expected to be classified, but troops are awaiting it with some anticipation. Some troops on the ground complained about the McChrystal directives, saying they unduly hampered troops from defending themselves in favor of protecting civilian populations. Those McChrystal directives limited the use of airstrikes, night raids and other firepower against civilians.

At his confirmation hearing last month to take command in Afghanistan, Petraeus explained a tactical directive is "designed to guide the employment, in particular, of large casualty-producing devices, bombs, close air support, attack helicopters, and so forth."

The concern, however, is that implementation has been uneven, leading some units to be overly restrictive.

"We have to be absolutely certain that the implementation of the tactical directive and the rules of engagement is even throughout the force," Petraeus said, "that there are not leaders at certain levels that are perhaps making this more bureaucratic or more restrictive than necessary when our troops and our Afghan partners are in a tough spot. And when they are in a tough spot, it's a moral imperative that we use everything we have to ensure that they get out of it."

Petraeus made clear he was aware of the troops' worries.

"I am keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement and the tactical directive. They should know that I will look very hard at this issue."

On Sunday, Petraeus issued a more general, public list of guidelines for counterinsurgency warfare in which he urged American troops and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to learn and adapt to the culture of Afghanistan while battling the Taliban insurgents and their allies.

While Petraeus called on the troops to "pursue the enemy relentlessly" and "seek out and eliminate" insurgents who threaten Afghan civilians, he also urged coalition forces to fight "with discipline" and be careful to avoid civilian casualties.

Filed under: Petraeus
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. The Real USMC Forever

    Fire Pretetus, the Ph.d my @ss I return fire if fired upon period. I will not lose my life for these turds!!!!!

    August 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dennis

    "the commander authorizing a strike must determine that there are no civilians present. If the status of civilians is unknown, firing is prohibited " Taliban is thinking this is sweet! Just keep a civilian meandering around and shoot without fear of being engaged. Turn our gys loose to sweep through and kill the enemy. If the civilians don't like it then leave them to the butchers and bring our guys home.

    August 8, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Richard Diamond

    Its amazing what people will do for money and its amazing what people will do for a religion and pride. Politics all politics and a very very large lack of communications between "Leaders" and actual people. I am truly sad....

    August 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Y2J

    Just ignore this photo,folks!

    August 8, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. fanta

    THere are no good people in muslim Countries....never mind's their problem.........bring the troops home so that they can enjoy their lives witheit love dones and families......The West cannot forever fight the lunatics of the east........The moment we leave it will revert back the madness before we came.........There will be bloodshed among themselves like there has been for thousands of years and the fear of taliban and al waeda retribution will overcome their desires and vigilances for freedom and democracy !

    August 8, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Y2J

      Well put,fanta.

      August 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. ronvan

    As I have said before, "Political Wars" are extremly ugly and total stupidity. Now that Gen. Petraeus has put out his "NEW?" directive, I once again, sadly, have to say that our soldiers will suffer. And do not be confused, the Gen. is looking out for his "political" future. WE are not going to win this one! Not because our military couldn't, but because of
    politics. YES, bring ALL of our troops home TODAY!! Forget about pride, winning or loosing, the only ones interested in seeing this mess continue are those that are making the big bucks from it.

    August 5, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Smith in Oregon

    As long as Pakistan continues to enlist and protect it's Taliban fighters in Waziristan and send them to Afghanistan to undermine the Karzai government, there is no way of winning nor even stabilizing the perilous situation in Afghanistan. America needs to entirely cut-off giving Billions of taxpayer dollars to Pakistan. America needs to tell Pakistan straight up either stop using and rid the Waziristan Islamic Emerate or America will enter Waziristan and carpet bomb it entirely.

    America needs to place India and Pakistan high level envoys at the table and work out a treaty between those two warring factions. America should also assure Pakistan that Afghanistan will nearly entirely remove it's mass Opium-Poppy fields which are flooding Russia, Pakistan, the Middle East and rural America with cheap Heroin.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Real USMC Forever

      Smith in Oregon, I agree with you. Good post but if we carpet bomb we should use the Daisy Cutters on all available aircraft and show them what hell looks like!!!!

      August 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Smith in Oregon

    The McChrystal 'shake and bake' strategy FAILED in Marjah and now FAILING in Kandahar. The draw down begins in less than 1 Year and Gen. Petraeus is shifting to another 'strategy'? How about the strategy of pack up and leave?

    August 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Maritta

    This is terrible. We are sitting ducks. My son is in the USMC

    August 4, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Air Force Strong

      Barack Obama needs to do the right thing and get him out of there along with the rest of the USMC!!!There's no need for this senseless war!

      August 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Riza Afghan

    Yes, Finish the Taliban and attack on Pakistan to stabilize it !

    August 4, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gary Johndro

    It's about time!!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |