The Afghan government said Sunday that it has reached a key deal with the US to govern controversial night raids by American forces. A memorandum of understanding on “Afghanisation of special operations on Afghan soil” will be signed later Sunday by defense minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and the commander of US forces, Gen. John Allen, the Afghan foreign ministry said in a statement.
Details were not immediately released, but the name of the memorandum suggests that it will apply to a range of quick-strike raids in villages, not just nighttime operations. US officials declined to comment on the deal before it was signed.
Night raids have been a constant source of tension between the Afghan government and US military. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called previously for all international night raids to cease, saying that they are provocative when carried out by foreign troops. The US has said such drives are key to capturing Taliban leaders.
Officials briefed on negotiations have said that the deal is likely to involve a compromise in which Afghan military units would take a larger role in planning and carrying out the raids, and an Afghan judge or panel would have a say, if not full veto, over the operations.
The pact would be a step toward finalising partnership to govern US forces in Afghanistan after the majority of combat forces leave in 2014.