Unless they have changed very recently rules of engagement in afghanistan are every bit as restictive as they were in ireland.
That I'll have to check. As I understood it, I think the ROE for Northern Ireland was exceptionally restrictive, less so in Afghan.
Sorry to go way OT but this is an interesting circumstance. It is in the public domain, as the principles are in the Law of Armed Conflict and English Common Law, that UK ROEs in Afghanistan are influenced by 2 different considerations.
One is the absolute right to the use of reasonable force in the defence of yourself and others - self-defence as an individual - covered under UK common law which applies to UK personnel. This is judged against reasonableness of immediate actions you take when someone is shooting at you or your colleagues. This is the same test as applied in the bad old days in Northern Ireland, to an armed police officer on the street or anyone in their home faced by a burglar. Obviously, if someone is using a Barret an SLR is reasonable; an ambush backed up by HMG, mortars and 107mm rockets merits a 1000lbs LGB.
The second is the employment of lethal force against those threatening the allied, legitimate government (as seen by the UN) of Afghanistan - collective security as a nation - which is the Law of Armed Conflict. This requires actions to be proportionate, discriminate, avoid unnecessary suffering and militarily necessary. It also allows you to shoot before you are shot at but can actually require you to take more care to avoid (infamous) collateral damage where you choose to employ force rather than self-defence where you are compelled to use force when your own, or colleagues, lives are under threat.
However, the exact details of what this means in terms of ROEs isn't in the public domain for obvious reasons. On the ground, this gives the impression that ROEs are sometimes as tight as NI - don't fire until you you are shot at - and sometimes not - you can bomb a group of Taliban forming up miles away to attack - and might depend on the information you have to hand at the time. On top of all this comes the voluntary acceptance of a certain amount of risk to your own troops to avoid loosing the hearts and minds of the locals, and thus the overall war.
Sorry again for going right OT but it is a topic I have bumped up against professionally in the past, fortunatley in less extreme circumstances.