KABUL: The Afghan government and the US forces signed an agreement here Sunday to hand over all special operations, including the controversial night raids, from US and NATO forces to Afghan soldiers, the Afghan foreign ministry said.
A joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - Special Operations on Afghan Soil - was inked by Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak and General John Allen, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported.
"From today onwards Afghan Special Operations Unit which is comprised of Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security personnel will lead all special operations across the country with the full respect for Afghan sovereignty, Afghan laws and the Afghan constitution," Wardak said at the signing ceremony.
According to the MoU, all special operations will be approved by the Afghan Operational Coordination Group and conducted by Afghan forces with the support of US forces in accordance with Afghan laws.
The group, manned by Afghan personnel from security and law enforcement agencies, will review, approve and monitor the operations, it said.
It has been agreed that Afghan residential houses and private compounds are to be necessarily searched only by Afghan forces, with support from US forces only as requested.
"The Afghan Special forces are to protect any women, children or culturally sensitive places during the operations," said the Afghan defence minister.
The night raid operations by US forces in Afghanistan have been a main sticking point in relationship between the two governments.