Afghan night raid deal may be largely symbolic
According to the title of an article by Chris Carroll in Stars and Stripes it largely is. Of course the Pentagon will not issue an official statement to this effect!
The agreement will have the effect of easing relations between the Afghan government and the U.S. and NATO forces at a time when tensions were building over a number of issues. Certainly night raids was one of those issues
The new agreement gives the Afghan government and judiciary considerable say in their operation at least on paper. Karzai would even have veto power over them and an Afghan judge would need to provide a warrant.
As usual the devil is in the details. The agreement covers only "special operations". These are joint Afghan-U.S. operations approved by Afghan security and also judicial officials. This leaves room for other operations that are outside this definition.
A specialist at the Heritage Foundation noted:“It defines it fairly narrowly, and leaves open the possibility of a counter terrorism raid conducted by a CIA paramilitary group or other unit,” Defense Dept. officials refused to answer questions about unilateral raids!
Rick Nelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said:“If there’s a threat to the homeland, the United States always reserves the ability to act unilaterally,” said Rick “Ozzie“The rhetoric may not line up with that, however, because we have the need for an agreement with the Afghan government beyond 2014."" Karzai long demanded that Afghans have control over the raids and this agreement seems to give them that.
One other note. Although warrants are needed for the raids. The warrants can be obtained after rather than before the raids if necessary. For more see the full article or another article here.
In 2011 there were about 2000 night raids. Expect the U.S to stay for years in Afghanistan after 2014 but with smaller numbers and extensive use of special forces and night raids along with Afghans.