News / Asia

    Karzai Orders US Special Forces Out of Eastern Afghan Province

    Security officials investigate the scene of a suicide car bomb attack, which killed and injured several people at the National Directorate of Security in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, February 24, 2013.
    Security officials investigate the scene of a suicide car bomb attack, which killed and injured several people at the National Directorate of Security in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, February 24, 2013.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the removal of all U.S. special forces from an eastern province in response to allegations that those forces or their Afghan allies may have committed rights abuses against civilians.

    Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters Sunday that a government investigation of security incidents in Wardak province found that armed men suspected of ties to U.S. Special Forces were engaged in "harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people."  He said the Afghan defense ministry has been ordered to ensure that all U.S. Special Forces are out of the province within two weeks.
     
    "All the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are obliged to immediately prevent the operations by all the groups under the name of Special Forces, who are going into houses of people, which results in disturbance and killing of our innocent people and bring to justice, in order to safeguard the properties and lives of people in Maidan Wardak province," Faizi said.

    It is the first time the Afghan president has issued such an order against the forces of the United States, a key ally which has been helping Kabul to combat a more than decade-long Islamist insurgency by Taliban militants.

    A U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman said he is aware of reports about Mr. Karzai's order.  Speaking to VOA by phone from Kabul, Lt. Col. Les Carroll said the U.S. military "takes all allegations of misconduct seriously" and goes to "great lengths to the determine the facts."  He said U.S. officers "intend to fully discuss" the issue of alleged rights abuses with their Afghan counterparts.

    The Afghan presidential statement cited two recent examples of alleged misconduct by U.S. Special Forces or their allied Afghan militias in Wardak.  In one incident, it said nine people disappeared during an operation by what it called a "suspicious force," while in the other, the tortured body of a student was found two days after he was "taken away at night from his home."

    Karzai's office said the U.S. military denied any involvement in such cases.  It said Afghan security forces will bring to justice those responsible for the abuses and urged local residents to help identify the culprits.

    In an additional move, Karzai ordered the U.S.-led NATO force in Afghanistan to stop all special force operations in Wardak immediately.

    It is not clear how a pullout of U.S. special forces from the province would affect the fight against the Taliban.

    NATO troops have facilities in Wardak.  But Afghan government forces already have taken a security lead in some parts of the province as part of a NATO plan to withdraw most of its troops from the country by the end of 2014.

    Taliban attacks in Wardak also have declined in recent months.

    Wardak's population is predominantly Pashtun, the same ethnic group as the Taliban.  A VOA reporter in Islamabad says Pashtun tribal elders may be using the improved security situation to pressure Mr. Karzai into removing foreign forces from their province.

    But, insurgent attacks have continued in other parts of eastern Afghanistan, where three security personnel were killed in suicide bombings on Sunday.

    In one of the day's attacks, a suicide car bomber rammed a vehicle into the gate of an intelligence compound in the eastern city of Jalalabad.  Officials said the blast killed two agents of the National Directorate of Security and wounded three others.  In another attack, a suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint in the nearby town of Puli Alam, killing one officer.  Taliban militants claimed responsibility for both bombings.

    Authorities said security forces thwarted an additional suicide car bombing in Kabul by shooting and killing the would-be assailant.  They said the incident happened near a construction site in a part of the capital housing government and foreign diplomatic offices.  Insurgents had staged a large-scale attack in the area last April.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora