A new directive, confirmed Wednesday by US Gen. Stanley McChrystal, aims to limit nighttime raids on civilians. It was prompted by a storm of complaints from Afghans who were enraged over foreign soldiers bursting into their homes.
The move is the most recent by coalition forces to woo the Afghan public away from the Taliban.
"We didn't understand what a cultural line it was," McChrystal said during a luncheon with a group of young Afghans involved in a leadership program, part of a series he regularly holds to hear Afghan public opinion.
"We are trying to change the way we do these," he said.
"Night raids cause tremendous trauma within Afghan communities, often alienating the very people whom international forces are supposedly trying to protect," said a 15-page report this week by the New York-based Open Society Institute, which promotes democracy, and an Afghan organization focusing on social development, The Liaison Group.