Has the new Afghan government quietly authorized night raids?

According to a report published in New York Times on November 23, the new government in Kabul has quietly lifted the ban on night raids by Special Forces that the former president had imposed.

According to the report, which is based on what the Afghan military officials and officials with the American-led military coalition have told them, Afghan National Army Special Forces units are planning to resume the raids in 2015.

In some cases, it says, the raids will include members of American Special Operations units in an advisory role.

The news comes days after New York Times reported that President Obama has decided to extend America’s combat mission in Afghanistan beyond 2015.

On Saturday, however, a White House official issued a clarification that “the United States’ combat mission in Afghanistan will be over by the end of this year.”

The former Afghan president, Hamid Karzai had imposed ban on night raids in 2013. In February 2013, Mr. Karzai forbade the Afghan military from asking for American air support.

Since these raids amount to invasion of privacy, American officials have tactfully renamed these raids as “night operations”.

The news comes days after New York Times reported that President Obama has decided to extend America’s combat mission in Afghanistan beyond 2015 

NYT quoted the first vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum saying that he welcomes the night raids. “The discussions over the night raids are underway; soon they will begin. I welcome this. The extension of the American combat mission is a good move, I am for this and I expect the Afghan people to support it,” he said.

On November 13, the presidential palace in a statement dismissed the reports about night raids as “baseless and untrue”. “Recently there have been reports quoting security authorities as if Afghan Security Forces and International Forces have been, or will be, authorized to conduct night military operations. The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan strongly rejects such reports as baseless and untrue,” the statement said.

“The President will personally review this manual, and the operations may be conducted when security and safety of civilians as well as Afghan security forces is ensured,” the statement added.

Mujibullah Nawaz, a resident of Kabul, says it will stir hornet’s nest if the night raids are authorized by President Ashraf Ghani. “We know how these raids are conducted, with sheer disdain for fundamental human rights, and if the new government goes ahead with these raids, it will backfire,” he says.

He is echoed by Farhad Zaman, a resident of Jalalabad. “President Ghani has won many admirers in the early part of his tenure because of some commendable measures against political and economic corruption, but he must be careful not to do something that hurts peoples’ sensibility.”

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