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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs