Vietcong was a name used bySouth Vietnamese and allied soldiers in Vietnam ,
as well as by much of the English Language media to refer to the armed insurgents and political dissidents fighting
against the Republic of Vietnam during the War. The name was derived from a contraction for the Vietnamese phrase
"Vietnamese Communist." The primary group covered by the term is the guerrilla army formally named the People's Liberation
Armed Forces (PLAF), or National Liberation Front (NLF). In areas under its control the NLF also included many non-military
cadres, including village chiefs, village clerks, and school teachers. Many consider the term Viet Cong fairly derogatory,
although its widespread use in the United States and Europe since the Vietnam War has made the term better known
than the proper name of the NLF.
The U.S. military complained that the Viet Cong often appeared to be part of the civilian population, and
thus U.S. troops could not tell the difference between the Viet Cong insurgents and peaceful civilians. During the Vietnam
War, U.S. stated policy was to treat captured Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars as Enemy Prisoners of War under the
Geneva Convention of 1949.