That from now on the Afghan forces will be carrying out the highly controversial night raids on residential compounds also called Special Operations in Afghanistan is in a sense a good omen for the people bearing US indiscriminate killing in these raids. However, as part of the deal the American troops will still be providing logistical and military support to the Afghan forces venturing for the raids and would also stand within earshot as a back-up.
The deal signed on Sunday between Afghan Foreign Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Commander of US forces in Afghanistan General Jones Allen is the result of a long drawn diplomatic offensive by President Karzai to wrest control of such operations from the US. The Afghan President was sensitive to the civilian casualties but another reason he opposed these operations was because in his view they were disrespectful to the Afghans. The modus operandi of the US forces of breaking into the homes of ordinary civilians by kicking down the doors, and pointing guns at the sleeping families was nothing short of terrorizing the Afghans. Cases are numerous where the US forces killed civilians merely on suspicion that they were insurgents or where the shell shocked housemates offered some resistance in confusion. It was also a routine with the US marines to take away male members of the family to interrogate and many of them would never return. It should be mentioned that though there were not many supporters within his setup, President Karzai did not give up pressurising the Americans to shift the operations under the authority of Afghan law enforcement agencies. He prevailed despite the fact that the US commanders were adamant in their refusal on the pretext that the operations were key to catching high value targets and other Taliban fighters off guard.
However, Islamabad must observe that since a puppet regime can have its way with the Americans what is stopping it, a nuclear and formidable military power, to press the Americans to end the drone strikes. It surely is a far cry from the conduct of a free state to watch the country get ravaged by the missile strikes with meagre protests, even though it wields enough military power to bring down the drones. Iran did that a few months back sending a firm warning to the US. The rulers’ subservience to the Americans is obvious since it is rare that anyone from the government’s top brass has strongly denounced the strikes. It seems within our leadership it is only courage and love for the countrymen that is in short supply.