Night Raids in Afghanistan Fueling Resentment, Undermining US Mission

Almost 20 night raids occur every night in Afghanistan, and get the wrong person half the time

by John Glaser, September 19, 2011

Increased nighttime military raids by US forces in Afghanistan have fueled resentment and undermined the mission to quell the insurgency, according to a report released Monday by Open Society Foundations, a New York-based thinktank.

Obama has more than tripled the incidence of night raids, which very often kill civilians and which Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly demanded some accountability for. But this latest report found the strategy to be creating more enemies than it eliminates.

“An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night,” according to the report, “resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” And many of the associated tactics, like “mass detention operations, holding entire villages for questioning on site for prolonged periods of time,” may violate international law, the report found.

Civilians bear the brunt of these hardline tactics. As one man from Nangarhar, interviewed in the report said, “They claim to be against terrorists, but what they are doing is terrorism. It spreads terror. It creates more violence.”

According to senior commanders in the Joint Special Operations Command, these various nightly raids get the wrong person 50 percent of the time. For a war-torn population living through a decade of US military occupation, ninety-two percent of whom have never even heard of 9/11, these are counterproductive indeed.

Last 5 posts by John Glaser