Military Relaxes Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan

The Pentagon is giving U.S. troops in Afghanistan more flexibility in fighting terrorists.

American forces no longer have to be close to Taliban fighters and other terrorists before attacking. 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved the change following President Donald Trump’s pledge in August, during a policy speech on Afghanistan.

The changes include removing proximity requirements for strikes against the Taliban and extending U.S. advisers to lower-level Afghan units.

Bill McClain, Army Major General (ret), calls it the right move.

"There's no sense to me if you can see someone and you can engage them before they can engage you, why wait?"

McClain says rules of engagement in the U.S. military are different for every battle, dating all the way back to the American Revolution.

"The Swamp Fox and others, especially in the southern colonies, took a lot of their strategy from wars they had with Indians who had allied with the French and British," he says.

But he adds there are a lot of factors involved in making rule changes, it's not something that is taken lightly.

"During the time our forces were in Lebanon the rules for engagement would change," says McClain.  "Our forces on the ground would want different rules than perhaps the policy makers in Washington would want, for international political reasons."

 Defense officials believe the new rules will allow greater use of air power in Afghanistan.

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