Karzai Orders US Troops Out of Critical Afghan Province

Karzai Orders US Troops Out of Critical Afghan Province

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province, a critical path between Taliban fighters and the Afghan capital of Kabul, in the next two weeks.  There have been allegations made that Afghans working with U.S. forces have tortured Afghan citizens and even murdered some others.

The U.S. government abstained from comment, saying they would not make a statement “until we have had a chance to speak with senior government officials … This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan counterparts.”

Karzai’s office said the Afghan National Security Council wanted American special forces out:

After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US special force[s] stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge. However, Americans reject having conducted any such operation and any involvement of their special force. The meeting strongly noted that such actions have caused local public resentment and hatred.

Spokesman Aimal Faizi said, “There are some individuals, some Afghans, who are working within these cells, within these [US] special forces groups in Wardak province. But they are part of US special forces according to our sources and according to our local officials working in the province.”

Karzai was adamant about his decision a week ago that stopped Afghan forces calling for air strikes from outside forces on residential areas. One night raid resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians in eastern Kunar province. Karzai said, “Our forces ask for air support from foreigners and children get killed in an air strike.”

Foreign forces are negotiating with the Afghan government about whether to stay after NATO leaves in 2014.