Huffpost Canada ca

Afghanistan's Karzai Says U.S. Special Forces Must Leave Wardak Province Over Torture Allegations

Posted: Updated:

(Changes first paragraph, removes spokesman's quote from paragraph 6 to make clear accusations were made against Afghans working for U.S. special forces, not against members of U.S. special forces)

KABUL, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S. special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after accusations that Afghans working for them tortured and killed innocent people, the president's spokesman said on Sunday.

The decision by Karzai could further complicate negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan over the presence of Americans troops in the country once most NATO forces leave by the end of 2014.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul, Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said villagers in Wardak province had lodged a series of complaints about operations conducted by U.S. special forces and a group of Afghans working with them.

The decision was reached at a Sunday meeting of the Afghan National Security Council, chaired by Karzai, Faizi said.

"The Ministry of Defense was assigned to make sure all U.S. special forces are out of the province within two weeks," he said.

A statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan said: "US Forces Afghanistan is aware of the reporting of Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi's comments today. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them.

"But until we have had a chance to speak with senior Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officials about this issue, we are not in a position to comment further."

Sunday's announcement came days after Karzai issued a decree banning all Afghan security forces from using NATO air strikes in residential areas, in a bid to curb civilian casualties.

That was in response to an operation in Kunar targeting four Taliban members which resulted in the deaths of ten civilians, including five children, during an air strike.

Karzai has long warned his Western backers that the killing of civilians could sap support for the foreign troops in the country and fuel the insurgency. (Reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Washington bureau; Writing by Dylan Welch; Editing by Stephen Powell and Paul Tait)

Also on HuffPost:

Syria Crisis Spills Over Into Neighbors
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Karzai Asks U.S. Forces To Leave Key Afghan Province | New ...

Karzai Expels U.S. Special Forces

Karzai demands US forces leave two provinces - Al Jazeera English

Karzai demands US forces leave two provinces : AJEnglish

US special forces ordered to leave critical Afghanistan province ...

Karzai Asks U.S. Forces To Leave Key Afghan Province | KTTZ

Karzai orders US special forces out of Afghan province

Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, has ordered US Special ...