Afghan civilian casualties increase under Petraeus
United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is flying to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss a NATO airstrike that killed 10 civilians.
Karzai is reportedly outraged over the incident in a region that had previously been peaceful. The airstrike is leading many to question whether or not General David Petraeus is changing the rules of engagement in order to win in Afghan.
Under General Stanley McChrystal the rules of engagement were very strict to ensure a lower number of civilian casualties. The primary reason behind the strict rules was to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
Jake Diliberto of Rethink Afghanistan argued that under Petraeus there will likely be a large increase in violence, similar to the increase of violence during the troop surge Petraeus orchestrated in Iraq.
“When General Petraeus took over during the surge in Iraq starting in 2006 violence increased, it did not decrease and it maintained increasing violence until sometime in late 2007-early 2008,” said Diliberto.
He argued that unlike Iraq, the people of Afghanistan are not ready to address a peace settlement. He said the people are too separated to begin coming together any time soon.
“They really don’t know what a peace negotiated settlement with the Karzai government would look like,” he said.
Diliberto also argued that violence would inevitably go up as troop numbers increase. As troop number increase the resistance will increase, he said.
“It’s my experience that Afghans do not want to trust the United States, they certainly don’t want to trust the Karzai government, it’s extremely corrupt,” said Diliberto.