WASHINGTON - Rejecting widespread criticism of intrusive US tactics in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday defended night raids by American forces as a key component of larger military operation. Clinton made her comments a day after The Washington Post published an interview that quoted Afghan President Hamid Karzai as saying the US must reduce its presence on the countrys roads and in civilian homes, particularly night raids conducted by special operations forces. The use of intelligence-driven, precision-target operations against high-value insurgents and their networks is a key component of our comprehensive military operations, Clinton said. These operations are conducted in full partnership with the government of Afghanistan, she said. Theres no question theyre having a significant impact on the insurgent leadership and the networks that we operate. Karzai has spoken critically of the US administration in the past, attributing election fraud to Westerners and criticising US and NATO operations, such as air raids and house searches that have killed Afghan civilians. President Barack Obama plans a step-by-step transfer of authority in Afghanistan in a bid to end US combat operations by 2014, administration officials told The New York Times. In The Washington Post interview, Karzai said US forces must reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life. Clinton said the US was very sensitive to Karzais concerns and has made revisions to tactical directives on night operations. These operations are in the best interests of the Afghan people, the Afghan government and the ISAF troops who are working with their Afghan counterparts to secure the country, Clinton said, referring to NATOs International Security Assistance Force. Based on conditions on the ground, we support President Karzais stated goal of transitioning responsibility for all security to an Afghan lead by the end of 2014. Separately, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today that while he doesnt agree with everything President Karzai has stated on all issues, the Afghan leaders comments reflect the alliances strategy to hand over power.