Confusing ‘tactical directive’ — U.K. troops ‘told not to shoot first.

British soldiers from B Company, 2 Mercian set off on…

British soldiers from B Company, 2 Mercian set off on an operation in Malgir, Helmand province…British soldiers from B Company, 2 Mercian, set off on an operation in Malgir, Helmand province, July 27, 2009. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT MILITARY)

British troops in Afghanistan have been told they must wait until enemies fire weapons directly at them before they are allowed to shoot back, limiting their ability to shoot first in order to protect themselves, according to reports.

The Ministry of Defence has denied claims that the rules of engagement (RoE) with the enemy have changed, but a ‘tactical directive’ issued by American ISAF commander General John Allen reportedly includes new instructions aimed at reducing civilian casualties.

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said the directive left soldiers “frustrated and vulnerable” and may have been responsible for a rise in ISAF fatalities caused by enemy gunshots.

An International Security Assistance Force spokesman said: “We have conducted a number of conferences devoted to the reduction of civilian casualties. These conferences have been a forum for passing tactics, techniques and procedures to the operational level and into practice.

Source: Defence Management

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