Looser rules, more civilian deaths, a Taliban takeover: Inside America’s failed Afghan drone campaign | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Looser rules, more civilian deaths, a Taliban takeover: Inside America’s failed Afghan drone campaign

An investigation by Connecting Vets reveals how a loosening of the Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan during the Trump administration designed to put pressure on the Taliban resulted in far more civilian casualties. The following article is based on over two dozen interviews with drone pilots, military lawyers, Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), as well as journal entries and footage from drones in 2019 obtained by Connecting Vets.

In the skies above Helmand, Afghanistan, an unblinking eye watched as an Afghan man wearing blue sat by a creek, propped up against a tree speaking into a two-way radio. For years, the Taliban had been destroying cell phone towers in the region, forcing locals to communicate with handheld radios.

It wasn't unusual to own one, but finding the man down by the creek with a two-way radio was considered to be a big win by the U.S. military strike cell watching from above.

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