Several Taliban detainees who had been captured in February after being observed placing bombs in the culverts of roads used by civilians and military convoys near Kandahar were fed, given medical treatment, then released by American troops frustrated by a policy they say is forcing them to kick loose enemies who are trying to kill them.As good as Gen. Petraeus was in turning Iraq around, he appears to be letting the troops down.
Despite what American soldiers say was a mountain of evidence, which included a video of the men planting the bomb and chemical traces found on their hands, there was nothing the soldiers who had captured them could do but feed and care for them for 96 hours and then set them free.
In another incident, members of a unit attached to 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment survived an attack by a suicide bomber on their convoy when his device failed to detonate. Soldiers managed to capture the would-be martyr, but he too was released after being held for four days.
"We put our lives on the line to capture the enemy," a soldier with the Stryker regiment told The Washington Examiner. "Since my deployment, every insurgent we've captured has been released."
Troops say top commander Gen. David Petraeus has not fulfilled promises he made to Congress last year to review and, where appropriate, change rules of engagement that have restricted troops' ability to stop the enemy.While it would be easy to blame Petraeus, I have a feeling this is coming from higher up. Yes, I mean the White House. Obama and his Regime have, as I heard Charles Krauthammer say last night, declared war on the War on Terror. They have no intention of winning it and are trying to micromanage it, in the same way LBJ and MacNamara did Vietnam.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. promised that ISAF would have control of at least 40 Afghan districts by the end of 2010. That promise also was not met.
Troops say it's impossible to hold the terrain when insurgents know that, if captured, they cannot be held.
The policy of releasing insurgents is expected to continue for now, officials said.
The Afghan legal system has no Western-style standards of prosecution that would allow suspected Taliban to be held in civil detention, ISAF officials said.
...James Carafano, senior defense analyst for the Heritage Foundation, said releasing suspected insurgents is not only a problem for U.S. troops but civilians who have been tormented under Taliban rule.
"The real issue is what is the right thing to do?" Carafano said. "Putting Taliban fighters back in the field who may kill or terrorize Afghan civilians as easily as U.S. soldiers is never the right thing to do. The U.S. troops will not be there forever and local officials need to start thinking about the long-term interests of their own people."
American troops say the policy is a morale killer. They say the inability to hold suspected insurgents is one of the reasons why the U.S. has been unable to suppress the Taliban.