Get out, Karzai tells to US special forces

Get out, Karzai tells to US special forces

KABUL - Agence France-Presse
Get out, Karzai tells to US special forces

US soldier gives candy to Afghan children during a patrol in Logar in this photo. Afghan president ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province. AFP Photo

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered U.S. special forces to leave a strategic province, highlighting his desire to control Afghan militia and underscoring tensions over accountability as NATO prepares to leave the country.

The Afghan president gave American special forces two weeks to leave Wardak on Feb. 24, a hotbed of Taliban activity on the doorstep of Kabul, accusing Afghans they work with of torture and murder that has incited local “hatred.”

‘Armed individuals working with US’

The presidency said the decision was taken because armed individuals working with U.S. special forces “engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.” It cited, for example, a student who was taken away at night from his home and two days later was found dead with torture wounds and his throat cut. Kabul did not specify which groups were responsible, but the U.S. is understood to have trained a variety of local militias, a number of which reportedly operate beyond the control of the Afghan government. The U.S. military has said it will discuss the issue with Afghan officials and takes seriously all allegations of misconduct.

Analysts suggested the order underscored Kabul’s growing distrust of U.S.-led international troops and their desire to control local militia, trained by the Americans but which operate without their knowledge in the war against the Taliban.

Relations between Karzai and Washington have long been troubled, and with the bulk of NATO’s 100,000 combat soldiers due to leave and the Afghan president to step down next year, there is huge uncertainty about the future.