Kabul: The Afghan President has ordered on Saturday that only Afghan forces and not the international troops should be the one to carry out special operations and night-time raids.

Hamid Karzai's announcement also said the international coalition should not proceed with any raids that have not been coordinated beforehand with the Afghan side. It wasn't immediately clear what impact, if any, Karzai's orders could have on NATO's actions. The coalition promptly defended the raids as a necessity to flush out insurgents from their hideouts.

"We can achieve the mutual objectives we share with President Karzai only by having night operations as a component of the overall campaign," NATO said in a statement.

However, NATO indicated there would be a gradual handover, saying that "we know that we must move from Afghan participation in night operations to Afghan forces having responsibility for night operations."

The alliance claims that all such operations are conducted jointly with Afghan forces.

The Afghan public, which has grown increasingly hostile to foreigners as the nearly decade-long war continues, tends to perceive the NATO raids as capturing the wrong people or mistreating civilians during searches of private homes and compounds.

 

(Agencies)