US agrees to let Afghan forces take lead in night raids
The US forces in Afghanistan agreed on Sunday to let Afghan forces take the lead in night raid operations, which have remained a source of bitter tension between the Afghan president and his Western backers, dpa reported.
With the new agreement, only Afghan Forces are allowed to search residential houses and private compounds "if necessary, and as part of the conduct of special operations."
The agreement said US Forces will support only "as required or requested".
Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Commander of the US and NATO Forces General John Allen signed the agreement in Kabul.
"From today onwards, special operations are Afghanized and are being conducted by Afghan Special Operations Unit which includes defense and interior ministries, intelligence department in coordination with Afghan judiciary," Wardak said at the press meet.
Allen during the signing said the agreement would "mean that Afghan forces... not foreign forces... are now in the lead for two of the most critical aspects of maintaining Afghan security: capturing the terrorists that threaten innocent Afghan civilians... and keeping those terrorists behind bars where they belong."
Allen praised Afghan special forces saying they were courageous, capable and committed. "I can tell you first-hand that Afghanistan is well on its way to fielding the very finest special operations forces in the region," he said.