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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid