US commanders in Afghanistan held accountable for failures

Last Updated: Friday, February 5, 2010 - 23:43

Washington: The US military has reprimanded
an unusually large number of commanders for battlefield
failures in Afghanistan in recent weeks, reflecting a new push
by the Pentagon to hold top officers responsible for major
incidents in which soldiers are killed or wounded.

As many as five battlefield commanders have received
letters of reprimand in the past month or have been the
subject of an investigation by a general who recommended
disciplinary action, Washington Post reported on Friday.

A sixth commander received a less-severe formal letter
of admonishment. None of the investigations or letters of
reprimand has been released publicly as the US military does
not release figures on disciplinary actions taken against
field commanders, the report said.

The paper letters of reprimand or other disciplinary
action have been recommended for officers involved in three
ambushes in which US troops battled Taliban forces in remote
villages in 2008 and 2009.

Such administrative actions, a departure for the US
military, can scuttle chances for promotion and end a career
if they are made part of an officer`s permanent personnel
file, the Post reported.

Disciplinary action has been more common in cases in
which US troops have injured or killed civilians.

The reprimands come amid growing political pressure
from American lawmakers who have pushed the military to assign
greater accountability for incidents in which large numbers of
US troops are killed or wounded.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, February 5, 2010 - 23:43

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