NATO defiant on Afghan night raids


NATO said Monday that US-led forces in Afghanistan will continue night raids, despite renewed objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai after a pregnant woman was killed during an operation. Afghan special forces will increasingly take the lead in such operations, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson said, without giving a precise timetable.
Night-time raids are one of the most contentious issues in Afghanistan. Karzai has led public criticism, saying they endanger lives and harass local communities, and called on international forces to stop entering Afghan homes.
His latest objection came after the pregnant wife of the provincial anti-drugs chief, Hafeezullah, was killed while he was detained during an operation early Saturday in eastern Paktia province.
General John Allen, the US commander in Afghanistan, offered his “condolences” over the death during a meeting with the president on Sunday and the counter-narcotics chief has now been released, Jacobson said. A suspected Haqqani militant leader who was the target of the operation remains in custody while a third man has also been released.