U.S. vows to back off if fighters use Afghan civilians as cover

U.S. forces in Afghanistan will “back off” from firing at insurgents if the fighters are using civilian buildings as cover, the U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan told CNN.


“I’ve given direct guidance, and so has my boss to me, that if there’s any doubt at all that the enemy is firing from a house or building where there might be women and children, that we’ll just back off,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, told CNN’s Barbara Starr.

“That potentially is something that we did not do before, but now because of this increased emphasis, we are doing,” he said in an interview at an outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika province near the Pakistani border.

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One Response to “U.S. vows to back off if fighters use Afghan civilians as cover”

  1. MSG Swart Says:

    To whom it may concern,
    I work for Maj. Gen. Schloesser, 101st Airborne Division and Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander here in Afghanistan. The general feels strongly about the connotation of the phrase “back off” and has authorized me to set the record straight on his behalf.
    CNN did some great reporting when they were here with us last week, but the quote “back off” doesn’t mean what a lot of people think it means. I can’t discuss any of our specific tactics, techniques and procedures, but rest assured this doesn’t mean that we put down our weapons, give up the fight, let the bad guys go, call it a day, head back to base, etc. It means that we assess the situation and try to come up with the most effective way to accomplish each given objective without endangering non-combatants.
    Time and again our enemies here have put noncombatants in harm’s way with the goal of a propaganda victory if the noncombatants are harmed. This is a dishonorable, despicable practice.
    Please trust me when I say we are getting after the enemy here more than ever, and we are also doing everything we can to prevent civilian casualties.
    Thanks for taking the time to hear our side of the story
    MSG Swart
    CJTF-101 Public Affairs Office

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