Night raids to hamper US-Afghan strategic deal: Faizi
KABUL (PAN): If nighttime raids on Afghan houses by the NATO-led troops continued to take place, it could hinder a strategic partnership agreement with the US, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
Despite renewed objections from President Hamid Karzai, a spokesman for the NATO-led forces on Monday said the US-led forces will increasingly take the lead in night-raids, insisting not a single shot was fired in 85 percent of such operations.
Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson said night raids remained the safest form of operations conducted to take insurgent leaders off the battlefield.
He said all the raids were being conducted in coordination with Afghan soldiers. He said civilian casualties remained low during night raids and only one percent civilian casualty could happen.
President Hamid Karzai on Sunday strongly criticised the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) over a raid on the house of a senior counternarcotics official in southeastern Paktia province.
The raid left the seven-month pregnant wife of Dr. Hafizullah Ahmadzai, the provincial counternarcotics department director, dead and his four others female family members, including two sisters and two daughters, injured.
Chairing a National Security Council (NSC) meeting at the Presidential Palace on Sunday, Karzai asked the top US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, to prevent foreign forces from raiding Afghan houses during night.
Karzai said: "Nighttime raids are no longer acceptable to the Afghan nation. The Afghanistan government is seriously concerned over the issue." He said the November 16-19 traditional Loya Jirga on the US-Afghanistan strategic pact had asked for the night raids on Afghan houses to be stopped.
The spokesman for the President, Aimal Faizi, said Jacobson's remarks were in contradiction with the Loya Jirga's recommendations.
In a statement, Faizi said the ISAF spokesman had opposed the Jirga consultations and President Karzai's repeated calls seeking the stoppage of night raids.
He said: "The nighttime raids can hamper the ongoing talks on the US-Afghan strategic deal."
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