Karzai hails Afghan control in night raids deal

The deal signed Sunday puts Afghans in charge of the night operations.

Updated: Apr 09, 2012, 23:34 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday
hailed an agreement with the United States over controversial
night raids by special forces as consolidating Afghan

Night raids by international troops targeting insurgents
in their homes have been a stumbling block in efforts by both
countries to reach a treaty covering relations after most
US-led foreign troops pull out by the end of 2014.

The deal signed Sunday puts Afghans in charge of the
night operations, deemed a key tactic in the fight against
Taliban insurgents by the US but condemned locally as a
breach of the sanctity of Afghan family homes.

"In accordance with this agreement we assure people that
not only the foreigners will not enter people`s houses, but
also the Afghan government will not harm anyone and that human
rights will not be violated," Karzai said.

All government agencies should prove that the government
was the protector of the interests, security and lives of
Afghans "so that people after years of suffering finally feel
safe in their homes," Karzai said.

"Afghan sovereignty was consolidated (by the agreement)
and the Afghan government has taken the lead," he told a
cabinet meeting, according to a statement from the
presidential palace.

Sounding a note of caution, First Vice-President Marshal
Fahim added that the government "emphatically asks people not
to allow terrorists in their houses", the statement said.

Western military commanders have stressed that night
raids are important in the bloody war against Taliban
insurgents, who have been fighting Karzai and his
international allies for more than a decade.

The deal, covering all special operations in Afghanistan,
is expected to pave the way for a strategic partnership pact
between Washington and Kabul on the US presence after most of
the 130,000 US-led NATO troops leave.

US military officers envisage a follow-on force of around
15,000 personnel in Afghanistan, focusing on air power,
logistics, training, intelligence and counterterrorism.