Afghan, US govts sign deal on controversial night raid

April 8, 2012 16:40

KABUL - Afghanistan and the United States signed a deal on Sunday to curb night raids on Afghan homes, giving Kabul a veto over the operations despised by most local people and clearing the way for a wider pact securing a US presence.

Night raids on suspected militants have helped fan rising anti-Western sentiment ahead of a withdrawal by most Western combat troops to be completed by 2014, but are backed by NATO commanders as a key anti-insurgent tactic.

Their conduct had been one of the biggest hurdles in negotiations on a broader strategic pact governing a future US role in the country, including advisers and special forces soldiers to help safeguard stability for at least a decade.

The deal, which has taken months of negotiation, was signed by Afghan Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak and NATO's top commander in the country, US Marine General John Allen.

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