Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
Over a cup of tea, U.S. ambassador defends night raids to Ghazni leaders
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry defended the use of night raids during a trip to a volatile province southwest of Kabul on Wednesday after some community leaders berated him over a cup of tea about the controversial tactic.
The Taliban-led insurgency has a heavy presence in parts of Ghazni province, which was plagued by violence during the fraud-marred September parliamentary elections. All the winners in the province were ethnic Hazaras even though around half of Ghazni’s population is Pashtun.
A White House review of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategy for the nearly decade long war in Afghanistan, due to be released later on Thursday, will report that foreign forces are making headway against the insurgency but that hefty challenges remain.
After lunch at Governor Musa Khan’s house on Wednesday, some local men stood one by one to complain to Eikenberry about night raids, while a prominent Ghazni woman asked for help completing construction of a hospital started in 1996.
“It’s fearful, if you’re a person living in a village and a night raid happens, it’s scary and it’s frightening, but that’s the nature of the enemy we’re fighting right now,” said Eikenberry.
“Security in your country, you know, over the last two years it started to go downhill, it was getting dangerous. These night raids that have been conducted, not everyone has been perfect, but the enemy commanders have been severely reduced over the last 6 months to 12 months,” Eikenberry said.
He also said he would take a look at the issue of the unfinished hospital.