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US, Afghans near accord on night raids
US, Afghans near accord on night raids; key hold-up is over how long US can hold detainees
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' A senior U.S. official says the United States and Afghanistan are close to an agreement over how to handle the hotly contested issue of night raids, but still are at odds over how long coalition forces can detain prisoners, such as those captured during the operations.

The agreement, which could come this week, would call for the Afghans to take the lead in night operations and set up a timely warrant-like judicial process for the raids. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

The official also says the Afghans want detainees to be turned over to Afghanistan authorities immediately after capture. But, the U.S. wants authority to hold them longer, largely because they often can provide key intelligence information about insurgent activities.

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