US Commander General Stanley McChrystal today issued orders detailing the new policy on night raids in Afghanistan. The new policy falls well short of the total ban on the raids, responsible for a large number of civilian deaths, sought by Afghan officials.
Instead, McChrystal will only require that the night raids take place in the presence of Afghan forces. The details of the announcement were classified, but they said that the Afghan forces would play a key role in the raid.
Local elders would also be “consulted,” at least in some cases. US officials say the new policies will cut down on the civilian toll, though it is unclear how. Most of the highest profile civilian killings have already involved joint US-Afghan raids on homes.
NATO announced its intentions to severely curb the night raids in mid-January, but it appears this is the first formal rule change made since then. The Karzai government has yet to comment on the change.