As General David Petraeus takes over the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, he sets forth the mission in a letter to the troops.
“We must also continue our emphasis on reducing the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum. We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain.
Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing, or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that; indeed, you have been taking the fight to the enemy and we will continue to do so. Beyond that, as you and our Afghan partners on the ground get into tough situations, we must employ all assets to ensure your safety, keeping in mind, again, the importance of avoiding civilian casualties.