Britain’s Ministry of Defence website has an article that perfectly illustrates what is wrong with the rules of engagement in Afghanistan. A British sniper spotted what he believed was a Taliban spotter who was directing fire on the sniper’s fellow soldiers, and instead of killing the spotter, he fired a warning shot:
The soldier, who can only be known as Corporal Danny for security reasons, shot at the feet of an unarmed man who was apparently directing gunfire at Cpl Danny’s unit, an Army spokesman said.
Armed with a .338-calibre rifle, Cpl Danny, from 4th Battalion The Rifles, serving with the 3rd Battalion The Rifles Battle Group, was watching over his patrol in the village of Sadul Kariz, which lies to the north east of Sangin, northern Helmand.
The soldiers stopped to drink tea at a mosque when Cpl Danny saw movement in a compound which had previously been used as an insurgent firing point. Cpl Danny warned his patrol over the radio, but as the soldiers moved away there was a burst of gunfire.
Cpl Danny could not see exactly where the shots were coming from but he saw a man near the compound pointing towards the patrol. Uncertain that the man was indeed part of the attack, Cpl Danny took a split-second decision and fired a single shot into the ground five metres in front of him. At this point, the man ran away and the firing stopped.
Bing West said it best in a videotape he took of recent combat action in Afghanistan: “Leaving your enemy intact is not a smart idea in any war.”
As long as Taliban spotters know that they are immune from attack for spotting our troops, they will continue to do so.
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