U.S. Marines trapped Taliban fighters in a residential compound and persuaded the insurgents to allow women and children to leave. The troops then moved in - only to discover that the militants had slipped out, dressed in women's burqa robes....
On Monday, images from a Predator drone showed a dozen fighters and at least 15 to 20 civilians inside a mud-brick compound in the village of Khan Neshin, about 60 miles north of the Pakistani border.
Because of the civilians, the U.S. troops held their fire, and instead used a military translator and village elder to persuade the militants to free women and children.
Two groups - children and what appeared to be women in burqas - left the compound. When the Marines entered, they found no one. The fighters had clearly donned burqas and slipped away among the civilians, according to Marines who took part in the mission.
The Americans didn't have female Marines with them to search the robed figures and make sure no men were among them in disguise. And the new U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has said he would rather see militants escape than for civilians to be harmed in battle; a declassified version of his new guidelines for troops were released Monday.