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

Feb 24, 2013
Originally published on February 24, 2013 11:08 am

We're getting word that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered U.S. special forces to leave Wardak Province within two weeks amid allegation of torture and disappearances centering on Afghans who are part of the U.S. forces.

Update at 1:07 p.m. ET. Order Came After Report

NPR's Sean Carberry is reporting on the move for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:

"The order came after the governor of Wardak presented a report to the Afghan National Security Council today. The report alleges that special forces and armed groups created by them have committed a range of abuses in the volatile province that neighbors Kabul. President Karzai has long criticized U.S. raids on Afghan homes, but the claims in the report appear to go far beyond his previous allegations. The president's order says all special forces must cease operations immediately and leave the province within two weeks. A U.S .forces official says they have not seen the report and cannot comment until they can discuss the issue directly with the Afghan government."

Our original post:

"There are some individuals, some Afghans, who are working within these cells, within these [U.S.] special forces groups," said Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for Karzai. "But they are part of US special forces according to our sources and according to our local officials working in the province."

The comments were reported by the BBC. Here's more from its report:

"These Afghan units are facing allegations of involvement torture and disappearances, says the BBC's Karen Allen in Kabul. A preliminary investigation also blamed them for beheading a university student in the province.

"Wardak is seen as a gateway for the Taliban to target Kabul, our correspondent adds.

"The accountability of US forces and local militia working with them has been a growing source of friction in Afghan-US relations."

The BBC says that the central province has been the focus of recent counterinsurgency operations.

Al Jazeera reported that the order to remove U.S. special forces extended to Logar Province.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.