first published on October 5, 2017 by Josh
Operation Enduring Freedom is about to get a lot more interesting, because American troops have just had their handcuffs removed. In the past, it was not uncommon for troops in Afghanistan to be told to watch enemy fighters, and do absolutely nothing about their activities until they became a direct threat to the troops spotting them. As of now, that is no longer the case.
A recent change to the rules of engagement has removed the requirement for American troops to be actively engaged by the enemy in order to return fire. This change will make it easier for troops on the ground to close with and destroy enemy fighters, where previously they would have been required to standby and keep eyes on the situation, while waiting for the enemy to engage them first.
“You see some of the results of releasing our military from, for example, a proximity requirement — how close was the enemy to the Afghan or the U.S.-advised special forces,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Military Times reported. “That is no longer the case, for example. So these kind of restrictions that did not allow us to employ the airpower fully have been removed, yes.”
Mattis later confirmed the changes at another hearing, saying, “We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces. It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”
This change was approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after President Donald Trump’s pledge in August to lift certain restrictions that made it difficult for troops to engage the enemy. While this new policy does lift certain restrictions, and extends troops in advisory positions to lower level Afghan units, it will not affect the policy of doing everything humanly possible to prevent civilian casualties.