Glimpse inside Afghan army’s elite forces

Country’s special forces take lead in fighting Taliban as US and NATO forces begin to pull out by the end of 2014.

Afghanistan’s most elite soldiers are taking the lead in fighting the Taliban as US and NATO prepares to pull back troops next year.

Al Jazeera is the first media organisation to be given access to the country’s most elite Special Forces – the Crisis Response Units – to observe their effectiveness in action.

While the US and Afghan President Hamid Karzai argue over the future of a bilateral security agreement, which would see some foreign groups remain to train the country’s army, there has been speculation over the Afghan forces’ ability to take on the Taliban by themselves.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, who reported exclusively on this story from Parwan province, Afghanistan, said that there is a very real attempt to inject constitutional law in terms of tactics. She said that on every raid the forces made sure to bring a prosecutor with them to present a search warrant at every house they raided.

“It is a civil face on what they are doing, or at least an attempt to do that,” Ferguson said, speaking from Kabul.

Our correspondent added that there are attempts to maintain cultural sensitivities and legal rights during these proceedings. According to Ferguson, Afghan female soldiers, who are working as translators, are brought in to calm any panicked women in the house.

“[The purpose is] not really to win hearts and minds in these raids … but to give some sense of legitimacy and state law,” she said.

In our second report, which will air on Friday, Al Jazeera will explore the issue of training Afghan troops in technology and intelligence, and the challenges these elite fighters will face when NATO troops leave in 2014.