Karzai Orders Expulsion of US Special Forces from Wardak

News - Afghanistan


President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered the expulsion of US Special Forces from Maidan Wardak province, west of Kabul, after hearing reports of "torture and murder of Afghan citizens" by these forces.

Speaking in a press conference immediately after the National Security Council meeting, President Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters that the US Special Forces and Afghan armed men who are paid and led by the US Special Forces have become a parallel structure to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Maidan Wardak, in Kabul's doorstep, has been one of the most dangerous provinces in the country.

In Sunday's National Security Council meeting, governors of Maidan Wardak and Logar reported a growing insecurity in two provinces, neighbouring the capital.

Today's decision reportedly came after complaints from the Wardak provincial governor and tribal elders.

"Today, the National Security Council ordered the Ministry of Defence to remove American Special Forces within two weeks from Wardak province," said Faizi.

"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," he added.

The concerns were previously shared with the US military commanders in Kabul, he said. But, the US commanders rejected the reports.

Karzai's spokesman said that the Afghan armed who men paid and led by the US forces operate in parallel to the ANSF in many provinces, mostly in the east as well as in Kabul.

The order comes days after Nato defence ministers announced after their summit in Brussels that they could be keeping 8-12,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the "train, advise and assist mission" after their combat mission ends in 2014.

The Afghan security council meeting also decided that the Afghan government would have the final say on locations for bases of foreign troops in the country after 2014.

Earlier this week, the US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, said the US troops would be based not only around Kabul area after 2014, but across the country.

The decision, experts believe, would complicate negotiations over Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.

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