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Karzai: No Agreement with U.S. Until Night Raids End

RIA Novosti

16:24 20/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Night raids conducted by U.S. troops in Afghanistan remain a major stumbling block to a U.S.-Afghan agreement on long-term strategic cooperation, the Afghan media reported on Monday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai received a delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by Senator John McCain in Kabul on Sunday. Karzai reiterated that he wants an end to the night raids and the transfer of U.S.-run prisons to the Afghan authorities before signing any pact.

The Afghan authorities have no say in the night raids, in which the U.S. military is liable to break into any home it suspects of harboring people linked to the Taliban. Karzai has repeatedly said that he will not sign the agreement without an end to the night raids.

U.S. officials have tried to for more than a year to conclude a partnership agreement that would include a role for U.S. soldiers beyond 2014, after NATO forces are due to leave Afghanistan.

“We emphasize to President Karzai that we believe that this issue can be resolved but we are strongly opposed to any termination of night raids because of the added risk it would put to the men and women of our military,” McCain said.

All international combat troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with security to be passed to the Afghan police and army. However, the proposed security agreement envisions keeping U.S. troops in the country past that date.

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