More time needed to train Afghan forces: NATO   2011-12-19 18:58:14            

KABUL, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A NATO spokesman on Monday said more time was needed to train Afghan Special Forces to carry out unilateral night raid operations on insurgents, while insisting it is the safest form of raids and will continue in the insurgency- hit country.

"Night operations remain the safest form of operations conducted to take the insurgents leaders off the battlefield, and just as reminding, in 85 percent of night operations not a single shot is fired and it do cause less than 1 percent of civilian casualties," spokesman of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told reporters in a ISAF press briefing here.

He made the comments in the wake of a recent call of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on NATO forces to stop entering Afghan houses and end the night raid operations that often cause civilian deaths.

In the latest raid, a joint unit of Afghan and ISAF forces carried out an operation in Gardez city, the provincial capital of eastern Paktia province on Friday night that left a woman death and four others injured.

"A regular National Security Council meeting held in the presidential palace on Sunday condemned the foreign forces night raid operation on the house of the Paktia's counter-narcotics chief Hafizullah, in which a woman was killed and four others injured," a statement released by Karzai's office said on Sunday.

"President Karzai has asked the foreign troops from straining themselves from entering Afghan houses and this is exactly the process where Afghanization (Afghan forces in lead) sets in," Jacobson said.

The spokesman of over 130,000 ISAF forces also said, "Speeding up Afghanization is in everybody's interest, it is in the interest of ISAF, it is in the interest of Afghanistan and it is in the interest of Afghanistan security forces but we need time to train Afghan Special Forces."

However, without giving the reason of the raid, Jacobson said the Afghan official namely Hafizullah was released on Sunday.

"We are increasing Afghaniztion and there is no night operation without Afghan participation," he added.

"Over the next three years, NATO's role will progressively evolve from combat to training and support," said NATO civilian spokesman Dominic Medley in the same press briefing.

Special Report: Afghanistan Situation

Editor: Xiong Tong
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