KABUL - Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) Spokesman General ZahirAzimi said at a press conference on Wednesday that if the Afghan president assigns the responsibility for conducting night raids to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), they will be capable of handling these operations.
"As members of the defense ministry we are obliged to carry out the orders of President Karzai," General Azimi said. "Night operations should be fully transferred to ANA forces because our commando forces are powerful enough."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked the US to stop night raids immediately.
ISAF said night raids will continue because they are the most effective way of targeting insurgents but the organization stressed it will try to involve the ANA in the operations.
Over the past 20 days, 20 joint operations have been conducted in various areas of the country. About 42 insurgents have been killed and 240 others have been captured in these operations, General Azimi said.
He added that 18 ANA soldiers also died.
The defense ministry believes that security situation is 26 per cent better than it was a year ago. General Azimi did not say how this was calculated.
The ANA is currently planning Operation Nawid (Hope) will commence after New Year in Afghanistan on March 21. The operation will continue for 19 months.
As international troops prepare to leave the country in 2014, Afghan forces are increasingly taking over the responsibility for providing security. In the second phase of transition, Afghan forces have already taken over security in seven out of 18 areas.
The strength of the ANA is currently 180,000 men strong. The growth target is 195, 000 by November of this year.