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Think Tank Dubs Night Raids In Afghanistan 'A Losing Tactic'

A think tank has claimed that the resentment caused by NATO nighttime raids in Afghanistan undermines any strategic military gains from the tactic.
A new report by a U.S. think tank says increased nighttime raids by international military forces are causing rising anger and a backlash in Afghanistan.

The New York-based Open Society Foundation report says that NATO and U.S. troops have made important improvements in the way they conduct nighttime raids, but the steep increase and the large scope of the raids are cause for "durable" discontent.

"When the international forces [are] going to a home they might have the right information and there might be an insurgents present, but they also detain all of the men who are present, who may be innocent civilians," Open Society Foundation officer Erica Gaston on September 19.

"In other cases, we found that those who had only bare information, or links to insurgents, maybe through their tribal or family connections, or had been providing food and shelter to insurgents, likely under duress, under force, that they had also been detained, sometimes deliberately, for intelligence purposes."

According to publicly available statistics, between February 2009 and December 2010 raids increased five-fold, with an average of 19 per night across the country.

But the report also quoted a NATO official as saying in April 2011 that there may be as many as 40 raids across the country each night.

Foreign troops say the raids are one of the most effective ways to combat the Taliban insurgency.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly criticized the strategy and demanded a complete end to the raids.

compiled from agency reports

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