- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2012

A group of Afghan officials will review and approve all targets of special operations conducted by U.S. and Afghan forces including night raids, according to Pentagon officials on Monday.

“These operations will be conducted in strict accord with Afghan law and under the provisions of the Afghan constitution,” Pentagon press secretary George Little.

This latest move gives Afghans more control over the night raids, which according to officials, are already Afghan-led, and conducted in conjunction with U.S. forces.

Mr. Little said the review of special operations by Afghan authorities is “not necessarily an impediment in any way whatsoever to the conduct of these missions, and that there are mechanisms in place to ensure timely action.

In addition, Afghan forces will be responsible for detaining suspects captured during the raids. It is also up to the Afghanistan government to develop a system under which warrants for these night raids can be issued.

Over the weekend, the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan and the country’s defense minister signed a memorandum of understanding that places all night raids under Afghan control.

U.S. officials have long hailed night raids as an effective means of capturing terrorists. But Afghan officials have criticized them as disrespectful intrusions that endanger innocent citizens.

The memorandum of understanding will be part of a larger agreement on U.S. troops in Afghanistan after most international combat troops leave the country in 2014.