Congressman Urges New Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) published an op-ed on the Breaking Defense website Monday urging Congress to adopt new rules of engagement for US service members in Afghanistan. Wilson, who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, writes that “life and death decisions should be made by those on the ground—not those engaged in a politically correct war in Washington.” Since the end of combat operations in February of 2015, US troops in Afghanistan have had a train and assist mission, which leaves them “unable to unilaterally take the fight to the Taliban,” Wilson writes. “They are restricted to waiting until Afghan troops initiate a strike.” Due to the deteriorating security environment in Afghanistan, Wilson argues “we need to restore the authority for US commanders to win the fight, in a manner they see fit.” Wilson’s article refers to House Resolution 920, which he introduced in September, urging the President “to revise the existing rules of engagement in Afghanistan and provide commanders the ability to target Taliban outside of instances where they pose a direct threat to the United States or its allies.” While Wilson’s resolution has not made it out of committee, his article promises to reintroduce the legislation in the next Congress and work with the new Trump Administration “to take the fight to the enemy and to stop terrorism overseas.”