Counter-Terrorism: Dying By The Rules

April 5, 2010: The German Army lost another three soldiers on March 26th, when several dozen German troops and Afghan police, as they halted to deal with some roadside bombs, were attacked by over a hundred Taliban. The fighting went on for two hours, mainly because the Taliban had set up their firing positions inside, and on the roofs of, nearby homes. The Taliban know the ROE (Rules of Engagement) all NATO troops must obey, and this means no dropping smart bombs on buildings that might contain civilians. So the Germans had to wait for troop reinforcements to arrive by road.

In the last eight years, 22 German soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, with 138 wounded. Another 17 died of non-combat causes. Currently, there are about 4,400 German troops in northern Afghanistan, where they mainly help with reconstruction. The ambushed patrol was on its way to help repair a bridge and clear landmines. The Taliban have been moving into northern Afghanistan, seeking to find safer areas to grow poppies and produce heroin. This effort has not been successful, as most Afghans are not Pushtun (the tribe the Taliban come from) and are very hostile to the Taliban. But the Taliban have the money, and the hired guns, to keep up the pressure, whether it succeeds or not.

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