Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Playing Down Strategic Partnership?

Alike civilian casualties, US, NATO forces' night raids against Taliban and their allied groups in Afghanistan has caused severe temper among afghan government officials. So has happened among local public. The government officials have frequently called upon international forces to stop night operations searching for Taliban members and their local commanders. On the opposite, NATO forces have asserted that the series of night raids undertaken across the country have brought them bulk of success in arresting or killing Taliban members across the country.

They have put emphasis on carrying on night raids which are said to be trouble-free, cost-effective, less dangerous for local inhabitants and highly successful for hunting the wanted militants. As natural, such operations will require searching some suspected houses where Taliban members come together to outline plans for their next terrorist operations. But the operations have fueled anger among local tribesmen saying their private spheres are violated and their reverence hurt because of NATO and Afghan forces uninformed night raids.

Because of the sensitive nature of night operations and the Afghan tribal social structure and dominance of traditional tribal believes in the Taliban-grown areas, NATO officials have issued a directive providing guidance for the conduct of night raids to prevent civilian casualties and public outrage. A portion of the directive says, "How the Afghan people judge our conduct and perceive our intentions will be decisive factors in their decision to support their nation's struggle against the insurgency.

We must remember that their protection, their respect, and their support are the critical objectives for everything we do". Putting emphasis on presence of the Afghan National Forces in night search teams, the directive warns, "All searches will be led and accomplished primarily by ANSF forces, and conducted with regard for the dignity of occupants — to include searches of females by females".

Following repetitive calls, in his recent statement in the Traditional Council on 16 November in Kabul, President Karzai overestimated the need to cut off night raids. He conditioned signing the strategic cooperation document with the US government on ending the night raids.

Participants in the Council said the draft document that was distributed among Jirga participants included ending night raids in Afghanistan conditions section. However, the question that arises is what mechanisms president Karzai proposes to defeat terrorism if the most valuable approach is denied.

Secondly, conditioning the strategic cooperation with the US government on a small of matter of night raids indicates that Karzai's administrations is playing down importance of the strategic partnership with America. Afghanistan's long term national interests would require sacrifices bigger than suffering night search operations to catch terrorists. However, any operations need to be directed by national and international laws.