Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The loosened up rules for the conduct of night raids will go a long way to strengthen the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency fight. The targeting of al Qaeda and Taliban leaders can increase and hopefully provide some good results that will improve the overall security situation in Afghanistan. This is especially true given the recent resurgence of the Taliban and demonstrated ability and will to continue attacks well beyond the end of the traditional fighting season. So President Ghani's enlightened approach to night raids is refreshing. Now if we can just get the ISAF (and the U.S. headquarters) bureaucracy to cooperate we will be on the right track. Read one experienced Special Forces officer's frustration with the "excessive bureaucracy that has hobbled our ability to conduct effective night raids" in "Back to Night Raids: Counterinsurgency or Counterbureaucracy?", War on the Rocks, December 1, 2014.
Monday, November 24, 2014
The ban on special operations forces conducting night raids has been lifted by President Ghani. The rules are less restrictive now. The term "night raids" carries baggage so ISAF is using the term "night operations". (Its' an IO thing). Under President Karzai Afghan special operations could conduct night raids but without US or ISAF air support; resulting in few night raids (lack of helicopter transport). Read more in "Afghanistan Quietly Lifts Ban on Nighttime Raids", The New York Times, November 23, 2014.
Monday, February 25, 2013
The Afghan National Army Special Forces or ANASF is integrating women into its force. One of the greatest benefits of having ANASF women members is having a female who can segregate and question Afghan women during night rights by the special operations forces. Night raids conducted by Afghan and ISAF forces are generally disliked by the Afghan population. More important, it is culturally insensitive for Afghan men to talk with or question Afghan women. So the addition of women to the ANASF to help out during these night raids is a big plus. Read more in "Afghan army trains women as special forces soldiers to fill vacuum when foreign troops leave", Fox News, February 14, 2013.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
It appears that the U.S. and Afghanistan are close to an agreement on night raids. Karzai (and others) have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the frequency of night raids, the fact that Afghans are not conducting them unilaterally, and the lack of a warrant-based system. The U.S. maintains that the night raids are key to keeping the insurgents on the defensive. Read more in "U.S., Afghans Negotiate on Night Raids", American Forces Press Service, April 3, 2012.
The ongoing talks between the United States and Afghanistan on the Strategic Partnership deal continue. Issues such as the transfer of the Parwan prison, night raids by ISAF special operations forces, and the status of U.S. forces and bases in Afghanistan after 2014 continue to dominate the negotiations. Learn more in "Afghanistan presses for answers on long-term U.S. military bases", Reuters, March 31, 2012.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
President Karzai wants to reduce if not eliminate all night raids in Afghanistan. However, according to U.S. military officials, night raids are an important part of the overall effort in capturing or killing the Taliban. Read more in "U.S. Wants to Avoid Ban on Afghan Night Missions", U.S. News and World Report, March 29, 2012.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
In formal negotiations set to begin Thursday, Afghan officials are expected to press their U.S. counterparts for veto power over controversial night raids on Afghan homes as well as warrants signed by a judge before the operations are carried out. Despite substantive differences, officials on both sides expressed confidence that they are heading toward an understanding on the raids that will allow them to complete within two months a broader accord governing the long-term military relationship between the countries.These negotiations could lead us down the road to disaster. The night raids currently conducted by ISAF SOF, CJSOCC-A, and other organizations' have been extremely productive - keeping the insurgent mid-level and high-level leaders off-balance, running from house to house each night, and suspicious of informants within their ranks. Many insurgents have met their demise or have been captured during night raids. This is due to an extremely effective targeting procedure, good COIN intelligence, great ISR assets, and good working relationships with Afghan partner special operations units (PRC, ANASF, Commandos, and others).
Agreeing to Afghan approval of targets and moving to a warrant-base system is problematic. It slows down the targeting cycle, reveals intelligence sources, will be a bonanza of information for the Taliban infiltrators of the ANSF, tips our hand on targets who will be notified that they are at risk, relies on an ineffective and corrupt judiciary, and holds us hostage to Afghan politics.
Read more in "Afghan officials likely to press for veto power over night raids in formal talks", The Washington Post, March 21, 2012.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
The head of USSOCOM told U.S. senators that Afghan forces are now leading all U.S. special operations night raids. The conduct of night raids has been a constant complaint of President Karzai and a topic of discussion during the negotiations between Karzai and the U.S. on the relationship of the two nations after 2014. Admiral McRaven stated that Afghan forces are always the first through the door during a night raid. McRaven said that the U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan are working in two key areas. The first is the use of forces to conduct lethal and direct approach, often through night raids. The second is to build Afghan security, development, and governance through Village Stability Operations or VSO and working with programs such as the Afghan Local Police or ALP. Read more on this topic in "Socom Commander Discusses Progress in Afghanistan", American Forces Press Service,
March 6, 2012.
March 6, 2012.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
A constant source of friction between President Karzai and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are the frequent night raids that ISAF conducts. Karzai continues to assert that the night raids are causing a drop of support for the central government and the coalition troops. ISAF maintains that the night raids are necessary for the successful conduct of the operations and safety of the populace. The vast majority of the night raids have been joint operations for some time. One of the primary reasons for the joint operations is to train up the Afghan counterparts. Based on some accounts this training appears to be on track. See "Afghan army's night raiders ready to take control", Reuters, January 25, 2012.