Soldiers ordered not to shoot Taliban… ‘because it WAKES UP locals’

Posted: September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #65

September 28, 2012

By Daily Mail Reporter

Soldiers were ordered not to open fire on  Taliban fighters planting mines in case they disturb local people, it has been  claimed.

U.S. military chiefs ordered troops to  exercise ‘courageous constraint’ and even warned them they could be charged with  murder if they shot any Taliban without permission from above.

The claims were made by a former Royal Marine  who spoke out following the inquest into the death of Sergeant Peter Rayner last  week.

At the hearing in Bradford, his widow Wendy  Rayner revealed how her husband was blown up days after senior officers had  apparently ‘laughed off’ his complaints that insurgents were being allowed to  plant explosive devices unchallenged.

The 34-year-old phoned his wife in a ‘highly  stressed’ state four days before his death and was upset that his fears were not  taken seriously.

She said he and his men had watched the  enemy, using night-vision goggles, plant improvised explosive devices  and were  not allowed to attack them. He was allegedly told by one  officer: ‘I am an Army  Captain and you will do your job.’

Father-of-one Craig Smith, 36, who  quit his  job with 40 Commando in January and now works for a Newcastle  security firm,  documented the ‘outrageous’ orders issued to troops in a  diary of his six-month  tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province last May,  according to the Sun.

His notebook cites several examples  and  claims troops were ordered to stand and watch when they spotted a Taliban  fighter as the sound of shooting would ‘wake up and upset the  locals’.

He also reveals how they were told  not to  shoot or use mortars for illumination when they came across  Taliban soldiers in  an area full of hidden explosive devices.

Mr Smith wrote at the time: ‘After a few days  it becomes apparent that when we positively identify people we cannot open  fire!’

Branding the policy ‘an absolute  outrage’ he  added: ‘This course of action will end up with one of use  being a casualty –  and I will lay the blame with command.’

He told the newspaper: ‘In Kajaki I  saw  Taliban digging in IEDs and was denied the chance to do anything  about it for  fear of upsetting the locals. Permission to open fire was  denied as it would  alarm the population.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said  it had  not seen the soldier’s diary but it could be a loose  interpretation of  courageous restraint.

Sergeant Rayner was serving with the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and was leading a ten-man patrol in  Helmand when he was killed in an explosion last October.

The  father-of-one received ‘catastrophic’ head injuries.

During the inquest, Mrs Rayner said that the  Army had promised that her concerns would be dealt with, but she  said: ‘I have  been fobbed off.’

Mrs Rayner told Bradford Coroner’s Court her  husband, who joined the Army at 17, had feared his own death.

She said: ‘He was concerned about the number  of explosive devices being  planted in the area they were patrolling and had  told higher ranks  because he feared one of them would be killed.

‘He said they could see people planting these  devices but could do nothing about it.

 

‘I feel that maybe if a bit more had been  taken on board about what he had said then things might have been different.’

Mrs Rayner said her husband was ‘highly  stressed’ when he called her,  claiming that officers had ‘laughed off’ his  concerns and he had been  told to do his job.

‘He loved his job and I believe he deserved  more respect,’ she said.

‘I know it was a routine patrol, but I  believe that if he had been given a bit more respect and not just laughed off  maybe they could have done something about it, we are losing too many men out  there.’

Sergeant Rayner told his wife that officers  told him that he and his men could not open fire on insurgents planting bombs or  make contact with them.

His complaints were rejected by a Sergeant  Major and a Captain, the inquest heard.

‘I think that if more notice had been taken  of him, then he might not have died,’ she said. ‘Peter loved his men and would  have done anything to stop them being killed.’

Mrs Rayner told the coroner, Professor Paul  Marks: ‘I thought about it long and hard and I think he deserves his last words  to be heard.’

She added: ‘Now it’s my day, people will  listen because I’m in court.’

Mrs Rayner rejected the offer by the coroner  to adjourn the hearing so that officers involved could be called to give  evidence.

The coroner recorded a verdict that Sergeant  Rayner was unlawfully killed.

Outside Bradford Coroner’s Court Mrs Rayner  fired a further broadside at the Ministry of Defence, calling for rules of  engagement to be changed  to protect soldiers.

‘They are not allowed to return fire unless  they are fired upon. But all the lads have expressed concern because the patrol  area was filled with IEDs.

‘They can shoot at us and take us out but the  lads can’t do that to them.

These terrorists and Taliban can do what they  want yet our soldiers try to do their job and get persecuted by the  law.

‘If they are going to be soldiers let them be  soldiers and do their jobs. The job is hard enough as it is.

‘There will be an internal investigation, but  I think the rules of  engagement need to be looked into if someone is  planting IEDs and threatening lives.’

She said two of Sergeant Rayner’s colleagues  had also been killed before her husband’s death.

‘I am really annoyed. If they had listened a  bit more then it would not have happened. He should have been taken more  seriously. He was just trying to protect his men. He did protect his men – but  got himself killed.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘The  whole point of a counter insurgency operation is to protect the civilian  population.’

He said soldiers had to go through a series  of stages before opening fire and were sometimes asked to exercise ‘courageous  restraint’ even when shots had been fired.

‘It is all about winning hearts and minds and  using the least force possible,’ the spokesman said.

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