Just two weeks earlier American forces had raided the house of a Taliban member at night and killed him and his wife, leaving four small children alone. “We are trying to find relatives to take care of them,” the police chief said.
“It turns people against the government and the foreign forces,” he said.
Erica Gaston of the Open Society Institute, who is compiling a new report on night raids, said that while in general night raids had become more accurate, and that the conduct of forces had improved, she still encountered cases of unarmed people being shot in the head, or being shot when doing things like picking up a cellphone, running away or rushing to help a wounded relative.
“People in the villages are more scared of the Americans than of the Taliban because of these raids,” said Gul Badshah Majidi, a legislator from the eastern province of Paktia. In Zabul Province, to the south, the Afghan Army commander, Gen. Jamaluddin Sayed, said that one of the reasons villagers were joining the local police program was not just to keep the Taliban out, but also to prevent raids on their houses.