Sep 10, 2009
Pentagon Waffles on Admitting McChrystal's ROE killed Marines
Report: Marines killed in ambush denied fire support
MARINE CORPS TIMES
Posted : Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 21:45:21 EDT
Four Marines were killed Tuesday during an hours-long shootout in eastern
Afghanistan, according to reports.
In a frantic first-person account of the battle, a U.S. journalist who watched it
unfold said the Marines, part of an embedded training team working alongside U.S.
and Afghan soldiers in the Sarkani District of Kunar province, requested artillery
support to beat back the enemy ambush but were repeatedly denied by commanders who feared it would cause civilian casualties. Air support, which included U.S. helicopters, took more than an hour to arrive on the scene, according to the report published by the McClatchy News Service.
The incident is being investigated, according to the Defense Department.
Eight Afghan troops and an interpreter also died in the fighting, which the report
characterized as a “furious storm” of small-arms fire and rocket attacks. Another
three U.S. troops and 19 Afghans were reported wounded.
The Defense Department has not identified the dead, pending notification of their
families. Marine ETTs in Afghanistan are assigned to Regional Corps Advisory
Command. These advisers, who operate in four- and six-man teams, are members
of the 3rd Marine Division.
Pentagon officials have disputed the accuracy of McClatchy’s report, saying
Wednesday that the incident cannot be blamed on the guidelines recently enacted
by U.S. commanders under pressure to reduce civilian deaths in Afghanistan.
The delay in getting helicopters to the scene “was a result, as is often the case in
Afghanistan, of the fact that there are great distances between bases where such
assets are located and where our troops are out operating,” said Geoff Morrell, a
Pentagon spokesman. “That is just the nature of the beast in Afghanistan. It is a
large country and we operate all over it.” ((NOT TRUE - THERE ARE HELO's AT J'BAD, ONLY A FEW MINUTES AWAY)
He could not confirm whether commanders had denied the team’s other requests
for fire support. (MORRELL'S NON-ANSWER MEANS IT'S TRUE)
When the attack occurred, 13 Marine and Army trainers were partnered with about
80 Afghan soldiers and border police, McClatchy reported. Their mission to the
village of Ganjal, less than 10 miles from the Pakistan border, was supposed to
include a meeting with local elders, with the Afghans taking the lead.