No pact with US until night raids end: Karzai

Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 21:50

Kabul: Night raids conducted by US troops in Afghanistan remain a major stumbling block to a US-Afghan pact on long-term strategic cooperation, the Afghan media reported Monday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai received a delegation of US lawmakers led by Senator John McCain in Kabul Sunday.

Karzai reiterated that he wanted an end to the night raids and the transfer of US-run prisons to the Afghan authorities before signing any pact.

The Afghan authorities have no say in the night raids, in which the US military is liable to break into any home it suspects of harbouring people linked to the Taliban.

Karzai has repeatedly said that he will not sign the agreement without an end to the night raids.

US officials have tried for more than a year to conclude a partnership agreement that would include a role for US soldiers beyond 2014 after NATO forces are due to leave Afghanistan.

"We emphasise to President Karzai that we believe this issue can be resolved but we are strongly opposed to any termination of night raids because of the added risk it would put to the men and women of our military," McCain said.

All international combat troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with security to be passed to the Afghan police and army.

However, the proposed security agreement envisions keeping US troops in the country past that date.

IANS



First Published: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 21:50

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