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Military: Night raids in Afghan a successs

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 9 (UPI) -- Night raids by U.S. Special Operations units in Afghanistan have been so successful one provincial official said they have "broken the back of the Taliban."

But Afghans complain of civilian casualties and of harsh treatment by U.S. soldiers, The New York Times reported Friday. President Hamid Karzai has urged Gen. David Petraeus to stop the nighttime operations.

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Petraeus stepped up the pace of Special Operations nighttime attacks when he took command in Afghanistan last year. NATO and Afghan leaders told the Times there are about 300 a month.

Many Afghans like the raids.

"Those night raids have broken the back of the Taliban," Abdul Satar Mirzokhel, former deputy governor of Helmand province, said. "Most of their targets were very precise, aimed at the right people in the right places. If there were mistakes, they were very few."

U.S. military officials said there are civilian casualties in about one out of 100 raids. Because the operations are secret, the Times said, that claim cannot be checked independently.

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