The U.S. military command in Afghanistan has revised secret guidelines for nighttime raids, placing additional safeguards on kill-or-capture missions that are cited in a new White House strategic review as an effective tool in countering the Taliban.

A senior U.S. official said the new directive by Gen. David Petraeus, commander of coalition forces, was done “out of necessity” to ease tensions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The nighttime raids, which can imperil civilians, have been a sore point with Afghan leaders.

The shift in tactics comes as the White House on Thursday released a review of Afghan strategy that singled out night raids’ usefulness in recent months. In the review, the White House pointed more broadly to tentative progress in the war but said gains were fragile because of Pakistan’s failure to eliminate militant havens on its territory and the difficulty of developing effective Afghan security forces.

Continue reading →