Afghanistan OKs Terrifying ‘Night Raids’

Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani
Afghan rival presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah (L) and Ashraf Ghani exchange signed agreements for the country’s unity government in Kabul September 21, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghanistan’s new president has quietly gotten rid of the country’s ban on controversial night raids that are used to catch Taliban insurgents off-guard, The New York Times reports.

The country’s previous president, Hamid Karzai, had mostly banned the raids even though the US government has said they’re key to catching insurgents. Afghans are worried about the resumption of the raids, which have allegedly killed civilians in the past. From The Times:

“The Taliban will be going into other people’s houses, and the Americans will be behind them again, and there will be losses again of women and children when Taliban shoot from people’s houses, and in reaction the foreigners will bomb or kill them,” said Haji Abdullah Jan, a local shura leader in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province. “I am not in favour of night raids because we have experienced such huge losses from them during those past years.”

The raids will resume in 2015 and will include American Special Operations Units, according to The Times.

In 2010, The Washington Post reported on a night raid that killed nine Afghan man and led to violent local protests. “NATO describes it as a successful mission that took out ruthless Taliban insurgents,” the Post reported. “Relatives at the house said it was a slaughter of civilians.”