[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Afghanistan and US sign 'night raid' deal
Agreement purports to give Afghan military units greater control of controversial operations unpopular with locals.
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2012 13:57
Night raids have been a major hurdle in charting the long term relations between two countries [Al Jazeera/NATO]

The Afghan government has reached a crucial deal with the US to take control of controversial night raids from American forces.

During a meeting of his national security council on Sunday, President Hamid Karzai approved a memorandum of understanding on "Afghanisation of special operations on Afghan soil," the president's office said in a statement.

The document was signed on Sunday by General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan defence minister, and the US commander of NATO forces, General John Allen.

"Today we are one step closer to the establishment of the US-Afghan strategic partnership. Most importantly, today we are one step closer to our shared goal and vision of a secure and sovereign Afghanistan," Allen said at the deal's signing.

Details were not immediately released, but the name of the memorandum suggests that it will apply to a range of quick-strike raids in villages, not just night-time operations.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Kabul, said the agreement will give the lead of night raids to the Afghan forces.

“NATO will tell you many of the raids are already led by Afghan forces, while maybe co-ordinated with foreign help," he said.

"But this agreement will essentially mean that the person going to the front door of an Afghan house will be an Afghan.

“This is the last major stumbling block in signing the strategic agreement” expected in advance of a major conference on Afghanistan in Chicago in May.

The strategic agreement will chart the long term relations between the countries after US forces withdraw by 2014.

Night raids have been a constant source of tension between the Afghan government and US military.

The Afghan president has called previously for all international night raids to cease, saying that they were provocative when carried out by the foreign troops.

The US military has said such operations are key to capturing Taliban fighters.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.