Night raids targeting suspected militants in Afghanistan have been one of the greatest sources of tension between Afghans and foreign troops. Now the US and Afghanistan have reached a deal giving Afghans more control.
Afghanistan and the United States have reached an agreement on controversial night raids carried out by American forces, reportedly giving Afghan authorities the right to halt the operations before they happen, Afghan and American officials said Sunday.
The deal on "Afghanization of special operations on Afghan soil" was to be signed later in the day by Afghan Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak and NATO's top commander in the country, US Marine General John Allen.
"The document will formalize a lot of what we've already been doing as far as special operations," said US military spokesman Col. Gary Kolb. "All the special operations will adhere to the Afghan constitution and comply with Afghan law."
Colb declined to give further details, but a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Afghans would now take the lead in conducting the night raids, which Washington says are necessary to capture Taliban militants but are hated by most Afghans.
"After the signing of this document all night raids become Afghan-led," spokesman Aimal Faizi told AFP news agency. "The foreign forces, the US forces, will have a supporting role in the night raids, for instance intelligence sharing."
A government official who requested anonymity told Reuters that the raids would require a warrant from an Afghan judge. Afghan authorities would take custody of any prisoners taken in the night raids and could grant or refuse access for interrogation to foreign forces.
The Pentagon says that currently 40 percent of night raids are Afghan-led, and 90 percent are conducted jointly between Afghan and US forces.
acb/tj (AFP, AP, Reuters)