Clinton Defends Afghan Night Raids

Shrugs Off Complaints of Civilian Deaths, Insists Operations Are 'Key Component' of War

Faced with growing calls from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to scale back the nearly decade long Afghan War and end the practice of launching night raids on individual homes, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the practice.

We believe that the use of intelligence driven, precision targeted operations against high-value insurgents and their networks is a key component’ of the strategy,” Clinton insisted. US officials have reacted with anger at President Karzai’s complaint, and Gen. David Petraeus has warned him not to repeat his criticism of the war effort.

But complaints about the night raids are nothing new. The attacks have regularly killed civilians and the previous commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, repeatedly issued new rules designed to curb their use, acknowledging that the attacks were causing major public outrage.

General Petraeus, on the other hand, appears to have little interest in the public relations side of the war, ordering a number of McChrystal’s restrictions loosened as part of an effort to improve troop morale. The result has been a significant increase in civilian casualties, and a significant increase in the number of times US officials have had to defend the war from a growing outcry.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.