Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Near Agreement on Night Raids | Kill Capture Policy

AP is reporting that the U.S. is close to reaching its goals in advance of the NATO summit in Chicago.
“The United States and Afghanistan are close to an agreement over how to handle the hotly contested issue of night raids but still are at odds over how long coalition forces can detain prisoners, such as those captured during the operations, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

The agreement would call for the Afghans to take the lead in night operations and set up a timely, warrant-like judicial process for the raids. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.”

The agreement on prisoners last month and an imminent agreement on guidelines for night raids are seen as the cornerstones of a future US-Afghan strategic partnership. That agreement would spell out the legal basis of a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan beyond the 2014.

In May, more than 50 heads of state will meet at the NATO summit to discuss progress on ending the war, future strategy and support for a US-Afghan Strategic partnership. US Special Forces, bases, arms transfers, training and the funding of an Afghan security force are expected to form the basis of the partnership.

A bi-lateral agreement between occupier and occupied undercuts the critical need for a comprehensive regional solution, and the role of international law in providing the framework of a peace process.

The NYT focuses on the anger and distrust that the night raids have created among Afghan’s. Pointing out that the killing of 17 unarmed and sleeping people by a US soldiers is seen by many as a ‘night raid’.
"Finding a way to continue the raids is also considered essential for the post-2014 plan that is shaping up. The plan, in essence, envisions the United States’ leaving behind a small force that would focus on counterterrorism. For that kind of mission to work, the force would probably need to be able to carry out night raids."


On March 22 at hearing before the Senate Armed Service Committee, General Allen confirmed that in 2011 there had been 2,200 night raids. He states that of the total 9,200 night raids 27 people were killed or wounded.

“… This last year we had about 2,200 night operations. Of those 2,200 or so night operations, on 90 percent of them we didn't fire a shot. On more than 50 percent of them we got the targeted individual and 30 percent more we got the next associate of that individual as well. So 83 percent, roughly, of the night operations we got either the primary target or an associate."

"...But after 9,200 night operations, 27 -- 27 people were killed or wounded in night operations. That would argue for the power of night operations preserving life and reducing civilian casualties in all other kinds of operations, than necessarily being a risk of creating additional civilian casualties. That's in my mind, sir, as we go through the process of negotiating an outcome for the Afghanization, if you will, of night operations.

It’s an astonishing claim.

One that has been challenged by researchers with the Afghanistan Analysts Network who documented the impact of kill/capture campaigns using NATO own press releases. This is what they found.

The number of ‘leaders’ and ‘facilitators’ killed equals approximately 5% of the total deaths.

The number of ‘leaders’ and ‘facilitators’ detained equals approximately 13% of the total detentions.

Additional Resources:

Key Issues for Loya Jirga

Night Raids and Militia Forces

Summit for Peace and Economic Justice

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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