A new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strategy of night raids has succeeding in breaking the back of the Taliban as the US begins pull-out from Afghanistan this year, says a report here.
Quoting US and Afghan officials, the New York Times reported that the NATO strategy of night raids has been devastating for the Taliban which has battled US-led forces for about a decade now.
The report said the night raids, which now average 300 a month, have been successful because "last year's influx of coalition forces brought with it the kind of intelligence and surveillance that have enhanced the military's ability to conduct the night raids".
The night raids have killed known Taliban commanders and even wiped out whole groups of fighters, according to the report.
The new strategy has disrupted Taliban networks in rural areas and along infiltration routes, thereby reducing large-scale attacks in Afghan cities. It has also forced the Taliban to operate in smaller cells and have shrunk their capacity, the report says.
"Those night raids have broken the back of the Taliban. Most of their targets were very precise, aimed at the right people in the right places. If there were mistakes, they were very few," Abdul Satar Mirzokhel, deputy governor of Helmand province, has been quoted as saying.
Special Operations forces lead the night raids, accompanied by Afghan commandos.
But the raids have led to resentment against US forces and have become "one of the greatest sources of contention with President Hamid Karzai, who has shown growing signs of distress over their use and has repeatedly called for them to end", according to the report.
In fact, the raids have led to heated exchanges between General David H Petraeus, who took over as commander of coalition forces last year, and Karzai.