Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given U.S.Â special forces two weeks to leave a key battleground province after some U.S.Â soldiers in the region were found to have tortured or killed innocent people,Â the president’s spokesman said on Sunday.
The decision by Karzai could furtherÂ complicate negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan over the presence ofÂ Americans troops in the country once most NATO forces leave by the end ofÂ 2014.
Speaking at a news conference in Kabul,Â Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said villagers in Wardak province had lodged aÂ series of complaints about operations conducted by U.S. special forces and aÂ group of Afghans working with them.
The decision was reached at a Sunday meetingÂ of the Afghan National Security Council, chaired by Karzai, FaiziÂ said.
His spokesman said: ‘The Ministry of DefenseÂ was assigned to make sure all U.S. special forces are out of the province withinÂ two weeks.
‘After a thorough discussion, it became clearÂ that armed individuals named as U.S. special forces stationed in Wardak provinceÂ were engaging in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocentÂ people.’
One example was cited where a student wasÂ kidnapped in the middle of the night before his tortured body was found two daysÂ later with his throat slit.
Sunday’s announcement came days afterÂ theÂ Afghan leader issued a decree banning all Afghan security forcesÂ from usingÂ NATO air strikes in residential areas, in a bid to curbÂ civilianÂ casualties.
That was in response to an operation in KunarÂ targeting four Taliban members which resulted in the deaths of ten civilians,Â including five children, during an air strike.
Karzai has long warned his Western backersÂ that the killing of civilians could sap support for the foreign troops in theÂ country and fuel the insurgency.
Source: Daily Mail