Afghans, US sign deal on night raids

Last Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 00:18

Kabul: Afghanistan and the United States have reached an agreement to curb divisive night raids on Afghan homes, giving local authorities veto power over planned operations and more say in the treatment of detainees, Afghan officials said on Sunday.

The deal would be signed later on Sunday by Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak and NATO`s top commander in the country, US Marine General John Allen, at the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government said.

Night raids on suspected militants are hated by most Afghans, but backed by NATO commanders as a key anti-insurgent tactic. They are seen as the biggest hurdle in negotiations on a broader strategic pact to underpin a future US troop presence after most Western combat troops withdraw in 2014.

Under the deal, Afghan authorities would have control over prisoners taken in night raids and would decide whether to allow US interrogators access to detainees, a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
A warrant would be needed before operations were approved, with Afghan and supporting US forces required to apply to an Afghan judge. Analysts have said such changes may delay operations and reduce their impact.
There is growing sensitivity in Afghanistan over the presence of foreign troops after a series on incidents, including the massacre of 17 Afghan villagers for which a US soldier was charged, and the burning of copies of the Koran at a NATO base.

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First Published: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 15:54

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