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article imageOp-Ed: Afghan night raid kills 5 civilians including 4 children

By Ken Hanly     Mar 28, 2013 in World
Kabul - Local police confirm that a NATO-led night raid in Logar Province left at least five civilians dead including four children. A number of others were wounded.
Rais Seddiq, a Logar official, confirmed that 2 of the civilians were killed immediately and three others died of their wounds in a local hospital. The confirmation by the Logar official brought an angry response from the Afghan Defense Ministry which insisted:“All those killed were armed”
The Ministry previously reported that 23 Taliban were killed in the raid and no civilians. Taliban sources admitted that 12 of their members were killed in the raid but that civilian bystanders were also killed. Karzai has constantly criticized night raids and even tried to ban them. He made ending any night raids a condition of the partnership with the US after 2014 as shown in the appended video. However, Karzai's complaints mean little as the NATO alliance ultimately calls the shots.
In this present instance the Afghan Defense Ministry is taking a stance that is usually associated with ISAF or NATO responses that play down or deny any civilian casualties. This may indicate a split between the Ministry and Karzai. We will see.
As a recent Digital Journal article on the situation in Wardak province confirms, Karzai often spouts rhetoric demanding certain actions on the part of NATO only to later alter his position entirely after pressure from NATO authorities. Karzai had demanded that the US withdraw all Special Forces from Wardak within a definite short time period. In the end he signed on to a deal that removes the forces only from one area and with no deadline even on that.
Night raids are regarded as a very effective tactic to kill Taliban, through raids carried out in communities at night. Karzai has demanded not only that there will be none after 2014 but that they cease immediately. For example, in January of 2012 he said: “Night raids by U.S. forces on Afghan homes must end now.” They continued just as the US Special Forces continue to operate in Wardak province. NATO will continue doing what it decides to do not what Karzai wants them to do.
In the beginning Karzai was a darling of the west and of the press, but now he is often an annoyance so that instead of getting rave reviews his corruption, inefficiency, and weakness is often emphasized. Karzai has not changed. In some respects he is a clever politician, who plays to his own people even if that means offending the west. Of course he often cannot keep his promises, but then not keeping promises is surely not just a fault of Karzai but of politicians everywhere.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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