US mulls changes to controversial Afghan night raids

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering several options for modifying controversial night raids in Afghanistan to help secure a bilateral agreement outlining the future US presence there, a US official said on Monday.
The United States hopes it can wrap up a long-delayed strategic partnership agreement with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai ahead of a summit in Chicago in May, where NATO nations are expected to outline their path out of the more than 10-year Afghan war.
Earlier this month, the two countries signed an agreement on the transfer of a major US-run prison to Afghan authority, leaving military raids of Afghan homes conducted at night as the final sticking point for reaching a deal.
That piece of good news for the Obama administration was sandwiched between a series of setbacks for the US effort in Afghanistan, including Afghans' outcry over the burning of copies of the Koran on a NATO base and the killings last week of 16 Afghan civilians, reportedly by a US soldier.
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