Army forces in Afghanistan must obtain “warrants” to enter local homes before setting out on combat missions, causing concern among soldiers and Afghan forces over potential leaks that could imperil missions.
As NATO forces take a back seat in operations, the Afghan government now bans some U.S. conventional forces from running independent raids and mandates that U.S. forces share operational details with joint coordination cells, said Maj. Joe Buccino, an Army spokesman in Paktika province.
The National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan oversees warrant processes conducted by both American and Afghan forces.
Though corruption has long plagued Afghan governmental agencies, a risk of leaks must be considered in the context of the U.S. transition of control to Afghans, Buccino said.
“We are now in a stage of the mission in Afghanistan where Afghans have got to be doing the security,” he said. “If that means we assume risk with operational security, then we do so. We are no longer at the point in Afghanistan where the capture of one group of high-value targets is going to turn the tide of the war.
“Americans don’t just ask for permission and then go hit these targets,” he added. “We plan and rehearse with our Afghan partners, so the hazard of leaked information is inherent in the entire process.”
Neither the Afghan government nor NATO has released details about a combat warrant system. The Afghan Ministry of Interior has not answered repeated emails and calls from Army Times.
A similar warrant-based system was enacted by the U.S. military and Iraqi government during the closing months of the Iraq War.
In March, the Afghanistan coalition commander mentioned the Iraq system while testifying about night raids to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington.
Marine Gen. John Allen, the International Security Assistance Force commander, lauded a system agreed upon by the U.S. and Iraqi governments during the Iraq War in late 2008.
“That system was successful, but it was successful because we were able to streamline the judicial process in ways that supported the operations rather than impeded the operations,” he said.
The agreement in Iraq came more than a year and a half after a historic troop surge and as the U.S. moved to an “advise and assist” role during the war’s final stage, called Operation New Dawn.
In Afghanistan, outrage by locals and politicians over night raids led to a memorandum of understanding signed by U.S. forces and the Afghan government that shifted control of “special operations” and night raids to Afghan officials.
“The MOU has just codified what was already taking place for months: the transition to Afghan control of all security operations and, in this case, special operations,” Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, a coalition spokesman, said in an email to Army Times. “These are Afghan-led special operations and they have been doing this for months … and it has not hindered or slowed the ability of the U.S./Afghan forces in conducting their operations.”
The MOU specified that the Afghan Operational Coordination Groups would approve special operations in the war zone, and Afghan forces would carry out missions with help from U.S. forces, according to the Defense Department.
The MOU was signed less than a year after President Obama announced the U.S. would reduce troop levels that were boosted by a surge in 2010.
Until the MOU, the U.S. and Afghan forces had partnered for more than 95 percent of night operations, Cummings said.
In 2011, ISAF conducted about 2,200 night special operations and “in 90 percent of those cases, we did not fire a single shot,” Cummings said. Civilian casualties occurred in fewer than 35 cases, he added.
The NATO ISAF in Afghanistan is training 12 “Afghan Strike Forces,” he said. Afghans are supposed to lead all operations by the end of 2014.
“The Afghan special operations units have developed at extraordinary speed and are manned by courageous and capable operators,” Allen said in an April release from the Pentagon. “We also recognize the growing capacity of the Afghan judicial system, which will play a vital part not only in the implementation of this agreement but also in the lives of Afghan citizens.”
Bring our troops home NOW AND LET THIS STINKING COUNTRY BLOW IT'S SELF UP. SEND HUSSAIN OVER THERE TO "FIGHT" THE TERRORISTS, oops, I mean the angry work place employees! We need our troops home to defend us against this communist govt.! Let the taliban take over the country, apparently that's what they want so let them have it. Stop the murder of our troops by the Afghans and our own govt! Sorry but this makes me even angrier than I was yesterday! It seems like every day this govt. is doing something to control and enslave the people. Hussain is doing all he can to destroy this country and turn it over to the UN, for one world govt.!
What kind of top soldier would agree to this sort of nonsense. The General's of our Services should be drummed out of the corp if they stand still and allow themselves and their men to be handcuffed like this. When I was in the service war was meant to be fought and won at all costs. If we would have had to fight under these rules in Europe or in Korea we would have lost both of them. This entire episode has turned out to be a disgrace. If I were a young man again I would never consider joining the armed forces. It is a utter shame that we have treated our young men they way we have in this conflagration.
It's you guys who should be training our soldeirs and planning military excursions (Sorry not the word I want but it'll do) My favorite soldier tells me he no longer wants to go very high in the military because you have to have the right pull and know the right people to be anyone if you want a career after so high a promotion. He'd rather stay lower and be a good soldier. I pray for him constantly, sometimes I wonder if he realizes the danger he's in while he's serving stateside. We've let the trojan horse inside the gates and soon it may be safer outside the walls.
Serving as a Marine used to be honorable. I think it still is but I have my doubts about a leadership that would go along with this kind of MOU in any country or situation. First of all, if they are taking the lead, then they are capable of holding their own and they do not need our support. Time to get our troops out of there now not on an artificial time table generated by the acting POTUS.
NOW IS THE TIME TO BRING OUR SERVICE MEMBERS HOME'' REPEAT, NOW IS THE TIME TO BRING OUR SERVICE MEMBERS HOME.....THIS IS NO JOKE.....OUR OWN GOVERNMENT SHOULD HANG THEIR HEADS UP YOU KNOW WHERE, THEY ARE DESTROYING AMERICA ALONG WITH KILLING OUR FORCES...............
SHOULD I REPEAT THIS AGAIN?
Tell nato to kiss you A. Let the Army Generals run the damn army and congress can screw up dc.
it's clear the brass have turned on us. question is how do we get rid of them.
WE MUST START SENDING FAXS AND EMAILS TO JAM THE ENTIRE WASHINGTON CLANS INCLUDING PHONES SYSTEMS WITH THE DEMAND TO BRING TROOPS HOME NOW.
The irony is that in our own country no warrants are needed to enter our homes since they passed the patriot act and NDAA.
THE WAR IS HEAR NOT THERE BRING THE TROOPS HOME & SEND THEM TO WASHINGTON D.C. TO ARREST ALL THE TRAITORS.
More mishandling of our troops. They are not policemen merely serving 'warrants.' What idiocy. This non-military administration has to be among the most bungling bunch of people working out of one place we have ever seen. Our troops do not serve 'warrants.' Why doesn't this administration send some of its own 'army' over there to serve 'warrants?' Our trained military is too valuable to be placed in a police/training role in a foreign country. They continue to be killed by the very foreigners they try to help. They have spent enough time in Afghanistan, and the death of even one soldier was one too many while being forced into its internal strife. Our military's presence there is no longer in fhe best interest of American citizens. Never, under any circumstances, should their presence in a foreign country exist simply to fulfill personal promises made between the leaders of two countries, unless such a commitment is in the best interest of US citizens. Our military exists to keep American citizens safe from their enemies, foreign or domestic. The US needs to stop giving away money and sacrificing servicemen to Afghanistan. We owe it nothing, and have given it too much, by far. Remove our troops and bring them home now!!!