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Editorial: Night raids

You may have no choice but to feed the Taliban insurgents who came to your house in the night, fully armed, and demanded food. This does not make you combatant. But it can leave you at risk of another visit in the night; even live threat would be there. That’s the Afghan and foreign forces to carry out night raids. This was banned during former government. However, a ban on night raids has been lifted by National Unity Government. Many Afghans in the past complained of nigh raids terming it as violation to their privacy. There was also news that several innocent Afghan masses were detained during raids that are guilty only of providing food or shelter under duress. Civilians with tribal or family connections to insurgents, with possible information about insurgent activities, are frequently detained. This was really bad. You can’t get the wrong guy to know the whereabouts of insurgents. This move was not only strategically unsound, but also in that time raised legal concerns of potential indiscriminate detention. Anyway, now joint nighttime raids by Afghan and foreign forces targeting Taliban leader have been effective in central Uruzgan province. Provincial governor said foreign forces were not only cooperating with Afghan forces in night raids, but they were also practically taking part in targeting locations where Taliban leader were hidden. Few back security forces conducted a night raid in Sarkholez area, killing six Taliban commanders. Provincial police chief also termed night raids as effective in fight against militants. But stressed on prevention of civilian casualties and that’s why security operations in the province were going at a slow pace. Safeguarding civilians must be on top priority during night raids. Foreign and Afghan forces must keep in mind that family members of the house that provided shelter to the Taliban and other militants at gunpoint are innocent. Has nothing to do with terrorists, but forced to help them. There is no denying to the fact that raids are crucial part of achieving success in the war—but not at cost of innocent civilians. Afghan masses are already become worst victims of the ongoing war which no end see in sight. We understand the value of night raids in elimination of Taliban insurgents. It also can play key role in weakening the terrorist group. Moreover, to prevent civilian casualties, we need strong backing of foreign forces during night raids. Helicopters and night vision goggles, GPS equipment and better guidance are the need of the hour, to target the militants in a very effective way which no civilians get hurt.

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