By Adam Levine
Afghanistan and the United States may soon reach a deal over night raids that could increase Afghan control over and participation in the controversial operations, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports from Kabul.
Night raids are deeply unpopular among Afghans, but Gen. John Allen, who commands U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, recently told Congress how vital and frequent those raids are.
Approximately 2,400 night raids are conducted by U.S. Special Operations each year, according to Allen's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.
Allen argued the night raids are far less violent than they are often perceived to be. Allen said that in 2011, 83 % of the raids succeeded in getting either their primary target or an associated insurgent.
"This last year we had about 2,200 night operations ," he said. " Of those 2,200 or so night operations, on 90 % of them we didn't fire a shot. On more than 50 % of them we got the targeted individual , and (in) 30 % more we got the next associate of that individual as well ."
As for civilian casualties, in the 10 % of the night raids where shots were fired, "less than 1.5 % civilian casualties" resulted , Allen said.
"Now, I don't diminish any civilian casualties by reducing it to a percentage point. Every one of those is tragic," Allen told the committee. "That would argue for the power of night operations preserving life and reducing civilian casualties in all other kinds of operations , than necessarily being a risk of creating additional civilian casualties."
Pentagon spokesman George Litttle also said Afghan security forces are working "hand in hand with our Afghan partners on night operations."
Little, speaking to Pentagon reporters Tuesday, could not say exactly how many of the raids involved Afghan security forces as well , but said the amount was "not an insignificant number." Asked if it was more than half of the raids, Little said he thought it was "in the ballpark."