Deal inked with US: Afghans to conduct night raids
Defence Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John Allen inked the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Kabul.
The accord gives Afghan forces the lead role in the special operations, a critical security responsibility in Afghanistan, the NATO-led force said.
After the signing ceremony, Wardak told reporters: “This (deal) is an important step in strengthening Afghanistan’s sovereignty.” He said it had been a longtime desire of the nation that the raids be controlled by Afghans.
From now on, according to the minister, all operations across the country will be conducted by the Afghan Special Operations Units, including soldiers, police and intelligence personnel.
In case of need, Afghan forces would search civilian houses in accordance with national laws, he explained. Help from US troops would be sought, if needed, he said.
Meanwhile, the NATO-led force confirmed Afghan Special Operations Units would lead the way in targeting insurgents and the raids would be conducted with full respect for Afghan sovereignty, law and constitution.
"This is a landmark day in (the) rule of law," remarked Allen, who said that Afghans would lead on two of the most important issues -- capturing the terrorists and ensuring they remain behind bars.
He called the agreement a significant milestone in the progress of the Lisbon-based transition process and in the shared effort to formalise a long-term strategic partnership.
"In conjunction with the Detentions MoU we signed last month, today's MoU gives tangible expression to the vision of the Afghan Loya Jirga and to the will of the Afghan people," remarked Gen. Allen.
The commander continued: "Today we are one important step closer to our shared goal of a secure and sovereign Afghanistan. Together we will realise this vision."
The night raids, long opposed by the Afghan government and people, are supported by NATO commanders, who claim the operations have been hugely successful in curbing militant-linked violence.
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