The Cost of Kill/Capture for Afghan Civilians

Night-time search and seizure operations have long been one of the most controversial issues in Afghanistan. Afghans associate these raids with civilian casualties, abuse, and violations of cultural and religious norms. Night raids have generated significant public backlash, provoking public protests and mass demonstrations. While President Karzai and other senior Afghan leaders have frequently spoken out against night raids and often called for them to end, the international military argues that they are the most effective tool to disrupt insurgent networks.

In September, the Open Society Foundations issued The Cost of Kill/Capture: Impact of Night Raids on Afghan Civilians, which analyzes the human and strategic impact of night raids. While the report recognized a number of tactical and operational improvements – including improved conduct and accuracy – it found the overall cost of increased night raids outweighed their purported gains. In addition, some persistent human rights concerns remain, including indiscriminate detention, detention for intelligence value, poor accountability and transparency mechanisms, and a failure to consider less harmful alternatives in many cases.

Please join the Open Society Foundations for an off-the-record lunchtime discussion on this important issue with Afghan Ambassador to Washington, D.C., His Excellency Eklil Hakimi and Rosa Brooks, former special coordinator for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense.


  • Afghan Ambassador Eklil Hakimi
  • Rosa Brooks, professor of law at Georgetown Law School and former Special Coordinator for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense (moderator)
  • Erica Gaston, Program Officer at the Open Society Foundations, and co-author of the report
Date: October 25, 2011
Time: 12:302:30 p.m.

OSI-Washington, D.C.

Rosa Brooks, Erica Gaston, and Eklil Hakimi