Don’t shoot as you’ll wake up Afghans, soldiers told

July 18th, 2011 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban London, July 18 (IANS) Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan were told not to shoot Taliban guerrillas planting mines as gunfire would “wake up and upset the locals”, a former soldier has claimed.

Craig Smith, 36, said US military chiefs left frontline forces frustrated by ordering them to show “courageous restraint”, The Sun reported.

He has written about the orders that were issued to troops in a diary of his six-month tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

A senior officer ordered them not to shoot a Taliban fighter as gunfire would “wake up and upset the locals”, the media report said.

They were instead told to stand by and watch.

In his diary in May last year Craig wrote: “After a few days it becomes apparent that when we positively identify people we cannot open fire!”

Citing an example, he wrote: “In Kajaki I saw Taliban digging in IEDs and was denied the chance to do anything about it for fear of upsetting locals. Permission to open fire was denied as it would alarm the population.”

A defence ministry spokesman said: “We have not seen the soldier’s diary, but it could be a loose interpretation of courageous restraint.”

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