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article imageOp-Ed: Afghan president Karzai orders US troops out of Wardak province

By Ken Hanly     Feb 24, 2013 in Politics
Kabul - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered US troops to withdraw from Wardak Province within two weeks. He accused US Special Forces in the province of producing "instability and insecurity".
Karzai made the announcement at a press conference in Kabul on February 24th. Aimal Faizi, presidential spokesperson said:"In today's [weekly] national security council meeting, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the ministry of defence to kick out the US special forces from Wardak ... within two weeks,". Faizi claimed that misconduct by persons linked to US Special Forces in Wardak included the beheading of a student and the capture of nine missing locals.
A National Security Council statement said :"All the Afghan national security forces are duty bound to protect the life and property of people in Maidan Wardak province by effectively stopping and bringing to justice any groups that enter peoples’ homes in the name of special force and who engage in annoying, harassing and murdering innocent people." The statement went on to claim that armed individuals who have been named as US Special Forces who are stationed in Wardak province. have harassed, annoyed, tortured and even murdered innocent people.
The National Security Committee chaired by Karzai also ordered that NATO's International Security Forces or ISAF should stop all special forces operations in Wardak beginning immediately. Karzai also insisted that no country would be allowed to keep troops in Afghanistan without a formal bilateral agreement with the government. The statement further pointed out that the actions by these groups has caused resentment and hatred among the local populace. The US forces in Afghanistan have completely abandoned any pretence of following a counter-insurgency policy that aims at earning the hearts and minds of locals so as to deprive insurgents of support.
ISAF said that it was aware of the statements made at the press conference. ISAF said they took the allegations seriously and were engaging with Afghans on the issue. A US Forces Afghanistan spokesperson said that he was aware of the reported comments by Faizi. The spokesperson said:“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them. Until we have had a chance to speak with senior (Afghan) officials about this issue we are not in a position to comment further. This is an important issue that we intend to fully discuss with our Afghan counterparts.”
Troops are to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. There is no SOFA agreement yet as to how many US troops will stay or on what terms.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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