How restrictive is the night raid deal?
April 9th, 2012
03:42 PM ET

How restrictive is the night raid deal?

Analysis by Adam Levine

The agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan on night raids raises the question of whether the Afghan government is essentially getting veto authority over U.S. military actions in the war, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

But a top military spokesman disputed the characterization, saying that the Afghans are the ones putting the missions together and leading them, with intelligence being provided by both the U.S. and Afghanistan.More than 97% of the night operations are combined missions, and almost 40% of night operations are now Afghan-led, according to International Security Forces of Afghanistan data. Since December 2011, all night raids have been Afghan-led, according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby, who said the agreement was merely "formalizing" the process.

"They are in lead of all these operations," he said.

Since December, there have been more than 350 operations, according to Kirby, who said that in 270 of those missions, the target of the operation was detained with shots being fired only 31 times.

"This is a very capable force," he said.

Kirby denied that the agreement cedes responsibilities or lets Afghans veto U.S. operations.

"This is not about a veto at all," he said.

"There aren't and haven't been disputes or disagreements about whether or not to develop an operation. It's based on confirmed - as I said, confirmed - intelligence from various sources and means," Kirby told reporters during a teleconference Monday afternoon.  "And when the team has confidence that a target has been identified, they plan and execute that mission accordingly."

The night raid agreement is similar to the protocol agreed to in Iraq in the final years of the war, said CNN military contributor Gen. Spider Marks, who was a senior intelligence officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

As intelligence in Iraq was developed and targets were finalized, an Iraqi lawyer attached to Joint Special Operations Command would determine probable cause, Marks explained.

Operations were then approved or denied based on the "veracity and credibility of the intelligence." Among the considerations were access, reliability of the information and the sources, and potential for collateral damage assessments. U.S. military lawyers were always part of this decision-making process.

"Once in play, it worked exceptionally well, very quick decision timeline, full trust between coalition and Iraqis," Marks told Security Clearance. "Intelligence was never in question; it was a sovereignty issue."

Operations can happen without a warrant, though a warrant needs to be pursued afterward.

Kirby insisted that is not something "people are going to take advantage of" routinely.

But there are areas not covered by the agreement. Other NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan are not covered by the agreement, just American forces. In addition, night raids by other entities, including CIA-trained units, are not covered by the agreement, The New York Times reported Monday.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Karzai • Military
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  18. Ajay

    How dare the Afghan government ask for a veto on the war in Afghanistan?

    April 10, 2012 at 2:59 am | Reply
    • Adam29

      Well because the US is at the age of losing, and this is exactly the excuse they are looking for

      April 10, 2012 at 5:03 am | Reply
    • Gabsernoxiou

      How dare you ask silly questions ?? It is their Country. US is an invader !!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:08 am | Reply
    • Mikey

      How dare they?? Because the Afghan government is the largest criminal syndicate in the world after the Russian mafia. Not to mention that Pakistan have their little tentacles all through the Pashtun belt and inside Kabul. Karzai is a puppet of the Pakistanis and the corrupt Pashtun tribes who support him. I say we just leave Afghanistan and watch as Karzai is treated the same way as Mohammad Najibullah was treated.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:09 am | Reply
    • Banjo

      Ajay has been sarcastic and yet there are those who are taking the question so seriosuly!!! Unless i have been the silly one!!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
    • Joop Kaashoek

      The US is a peace loving force. It should pledge not to invade any country any more. Invasions simply do not work out, they create life long resentments. The time has come for the US to pledge not to invade a country. They can always police if needed.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Spelunker4Plato

      They dare because two of the most corrupt countries in the world, Mexico and Pakistan, are also two countries with some of the most U.S. american influence.
      Funny how there's so much money to be gained for the weapons and drug industries from certain foreign nations' corruption.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  19. aroth

    Um, the Afghans *should* have veto power over planned U.S. military actions within Afghanistan. We're not at war with Afghanistan anymore, it's its own sovereign country and fully entitled to decide what level of military involvement they want from the U.S.. I know we like to think of ourselves as "Team America, World Police", but really, we do not have the right or entitlement to go into other peoples' countries and just do whatever we please.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:35 am | Reply
    • rog

      Fine, if it wants the rights as a soverign country then it shouldn't rely on foreign armies to provide security any more.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  20. James

    Who honestly believes that peace in America or Afghanistan rests on the ability of US soldiers to conduct a few desultory rearguard night actions? I challenge you to find me one US servicemenber who has been to Afghanistan who isnt convinced that things will return to just as they were before arrived the minute we left. It is time to bring US soldiers back from Afghanistan and to let them get on wth their lives, and to treat the few remaining blowhard chickenhawks, both in the miltary and on fox news, with derision and contempt for the damage they continue to cause.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:07 am | Reply
  21. Spelunker4Plato

    Are any of you watching NatGeo TV right now? The world police are really boring me. These green berets, with all their training and all their "patriotism" are out in the middle of nowhere so some guys can film them and the whole thing runs like a boring and slow-paced cop show.
    I'm sick of taxpayer dollars being spent on interrupting foreigners lives just so the weapons industry can make sh–loads of profit by having xtrian crusaders play in the dirt all because the older generation can't look themselves in the mirror and admit that 9/11 was an inside job.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
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    As intelligence in Iraq was
    developed and targets were
    finalized, an Iraqi lawyer attached
    to Joint Special Operations
    Command would make a
    determination of probable cause,
    Marks explained.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply

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