The commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan has placed restrictions on the night raids of homes hated by Afghan civilians, saying that while the operations are "essential," so is winning the support of the Afghan people, DPA reported.
Excerpts of US General Stanley McChrystal's directive released Friday by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) called on ISAF forces to consider all other options before night raids on homes are conducted and to coordinate the operations with Afghan forces and local elders.
Afghan security forces are to lead all night raids and "should be the first force seen and the first voices heard by the occupants of any compound entered," the directive said.
The dignity of the residents should be respected, women should be searched by women and compensation would be paid for damaged property, McChrystal said.
"Despite their effectiveness and operational value, night raids come at a steep cost in terms of the perceptions of the Afghan people," his directive conceded.
Noting that protecting his home and family is a point of honour for an Afghan patriarch, the directive noted that night raids can make Afghans "feel deeply violated and dishonored, making winning their support that much more difficult."
"Night raids must be conducted with even greater care, additional constraints and standardization throughout Afghanistan," McChrystal said.
"When properly executed, night raids remain a viable and advantageous option, but if we do not conduct ourselves appropriately during night raids, we cede credibility to insurgents who can exploit our insensitivities in a persuasion campaign," he said.