“Afghanistan’s president on Sunday ordered all U.S. special forces to leave a strategically important eastern province within two weeks because of allegations that Afghans working with them are torturing and abusing other Afghans.
The decision seems to have caught the coalition and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, a separate command, by surprise. Americans have frequently drawn anger from the Afghan public over issues ranging from Qurans burned at a U.S. base to allegations of civilian killings.
Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said the decision to order the American special forces to leave Wardak province was taken during a meeting of the National Security Council because of the alleged actions of Afghans who are considered linked to the U.S. special forces.
He said all special forces operations were to cease immediately in the restive province next to Kabul.
“The action comes after Karzai last week banned his forcesfrom calling in NATO airstrikes in populated areas, citing civilian casualties. The announcement also is playing out as the White House and NATO leaders ponder their troop commitments to Afghanistan after the coalition finishes its combat mission here at the end of 2014.
A statement from the U.S.-led coalition forces here said abuse allegations were taken seriously, adding, “This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan counterparts.”
Karzai’s blunt statement did not provide specific evidence or mention any judicial determinations.
“After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as U.S. special force[s] stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people,” the statement said.