KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered all U.S. Special Forces to leave a strategically important province in two weeks, alleging that they have been involved in the torture and murder of “innocent people.”
A presidential office statement that followed a meeting of Afghanistan’s National Security Council also said Special Forces operations had to stop immediately in Wardak province west of Kabul, a hub counterinsurgency operations.
The action comes after Karzai last week banned his forcesfrom calling in NATO airstrikes in populated areas, citing civilian casualties. The announcement also is playing out as the White House and NATO leaders ponder their troop commitments to Afghanistan after the coalition finishes its combat mission here at the end of 2014.
A statement from the U.S.-led coalition forces here said abuse allegations were taken seriously, adding, “This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan counterparts.”
Karzai’s blunt statement did not provide specific evidence or mention any judicial determinations.