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article imageAfghan protesters demand justice for torture and killings

By Ken Hanly     Jun 5, 2013 in Politics
Kabul - Afghans are protesting in Wardak Province. The protesters carried the exhumed bodies of three victims the protesters claim were tortured and killed by special forces.
Several villagers in the Nirkh district claim that U.S. troops routinely raided them and carried off civilians. The Afghan government obtained a video of torture taking place. The alleged torturer Zakaria Kandahari is said to be an Afghan-American. The body of the victim was found in a ditch just 200 yards from the U.S. military base at which Kandahari was stationed.
The protesters marched on the Wardak office of the provincial governor. They demanded that U.S. Special Forces killers be prosecuted. Two protesters were themselves killed in clashes with police, while others blocked a main highway.
U.S. officials insist that all the allegations about the U.S. Special Forces are "untrue". The officials claim that the U.S. has not been involved in any unlawful deaths in Wardak. NATO investigated the claims and also says that Special Forces are "blameless". It is quite possible that these claims are technically true. The torture and killings are probably done by Afghans who work alongside the U.S. Special Forces.
Afghan officials say that as well as having a video showing Kandahari torturing a victim, they have implicated him in at least 15 different killings or disappearances. Kandahari, authorities claim was part of a special forces unit operating in the area. Afghan officials say that Kandahari was the chief interpreter for an American Army Special Forces A Team that was stationed at the base near which the torture victim's body was found. The U.S. military says that Kandahari is not a U.S. citizen and that he was not working for the A Team when the video was taken.
Conflict between locals and NATO forces has been ongoing since early this year with Karzai at one time demanding that all Special Forces withdraw from Wardak, as reported in March in Digital Journal. The US Special Forces are still there.
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