KABUL, Afghanistan — All special military operations in Afghanistan — including night raids — will be led by Afghan security forces under a deal signed Sunday between the United States and Afghanistan.
The agreement marks what Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, called “the second major milestone in Afghan sovereignty.”
The transfer of responsibility for the Bagram prison north of Kabul last month and the “Afghanization” of special operations were two issues that Afghan government wanted to settle before signing a long-term strategic partnership with the United States.
“After today, only Afghan forces can search residential houses and private compounds within the framework of special operations,” said Afghanistan’s defense minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak. “Signing this document is a fundamental step toward strengthening Afghan national sovereignty.”
Special forces operations by foreign troops have been a long-standing source of tension between President Hamid Karzai and the United States. The night raids have been particularly controversial, causing serious offense in this deeply conservative society and frequently resulting in civilian casualties.
Sunday’s agreement says Afghan special forces units will lead operations with the support of U.S. forces.