You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Afghans, NATO slam new Taliban code of conduct

Jul. 29, 2009 - 02:05PM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 29, 2009 - 02:05PM  |  
  • Filed Under

KABUL A new Taliban code of military conduct that tells fighters to limit suicide attacks and avoid killing civilians is a sham that doesn't reflect the true nature of the insurgents, NATO and Afghan officials said Wednesday.

  • Please enable JavaScript for your browser in order to use
Want to read more?
Current Subscribers
Access to Army Times Prime is free for current Army Times subscribers.
Log in
Haven't registered online?
Activate Account
New Subscribers
Start your subscription to Army Times Prime for as little as 59¢ a week!

KABUL A new Taliban code of military conduct that tells fighters to limit suicide attacks and avoid killing civilians is a sham that doesn't reflect the true nature of the insurgents, NATO and Afghan officials said Wednesday.

The code, entitled "Taliban 2009 Rules and Regulations Booklet," is believed to have been published in May and distributed to fighters. Copies have been seized in operations throughout the country, NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said.

It appeared the code was designed to affirm the authority of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and to present the movement as a credible military force based on ideals and not as a loose collection of criminal bands as portrayed by the government.

"It seems to be a form of propaganda to try to show there is a central control over the insurrection," Tremblay said.

The requirement for Taliban fighters to respect the rules of war contradicts the reality on the ground, Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Zahir Azimi said, noting that Taliban fighters captured and beheaded an Afghan soldier this week in the eastern Paktika region.

Tremblay said insurgents have conducted at least 90 suicide bombings this year, and at least 40 percent of the victims were civilians. He also said that insurgents traffic children to use them as unknowing suicide bombers, and have destroyed at least 40 schools this year.

Taliban spokesmen were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

An Associated Press count of civilian deaths based on reports from Afghan and international officials shows that 453 civilians have been killed in insurgent attacks this year. The count also shows that 199 civilians have died from attacks by Afghan or international forces. An Afghan human rights group says an additional 69 civilians died during a U.S. attack in Farah province in May, but the U.S. disputes those deaths.

According to Al-Jazeera television, which first reported on the code, the document states that "the utmost effort should be made to avoid civilian casualties."

The code requires that "any official, soldier, contractor or worker of the slave government" who is captured "cannot be attacked or harmed," according to Al-Jazeera. "The decision on whether to seek a prisoner exchange or to release the prisoner with strong guarantees will be made by the provincial (Taliban) leader."

Releasing prisoners in exchange for ransom is forbidden, Al-Jazeera said. And any decision to kill, release or exchange a "military infidel" meaning a U.S. or NATO soldier must be made by Mullah Omar or his deputy, it said.

Last month, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, issued new rules directing international troops to avoid the use of airstrikes if civilians are at risk and to consider protecting the Afghan people more important than killing Taliban. The purpose is to combat the backlash among the Afghan public against the international military mission.

Meanwhile, a U.S. military service member died from a noncombat-related injury late Tuesday in western Afghanistan, the U.S. military said. It said the incident was under investigation and released no other information.

The death brings to 40 the number of U.S. troops who have died in the Afghan conflict this month. July has been the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO troops since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban regime.

Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez contributed to this report.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook