Report: Karzai orders US special forces out of Afghan province

A statement from Karzai’s office posted on the president’s website said that the Afghan National Security Council had discussed the matter on Sunday, after the charges were first brought up by the governor of Wardak province.

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“After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US special force stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people,” said the statement. 

The statement mentions one case in which nine people were allegedly abducted, with their whereabouts still unknown, and a separate incident in which a student was found with his throat cut.

“However, Americans reject having conducted any such operation and any involvement of their special force,” the statement added.

The statement said the Afghan council had decided to call for the removal of all American special forces from the province within two weeks and to prohibit the International Security Assistance Force from conducting any further special operations in the area. 

The decision is likely to further complicate U.S.-Afghan relations, as Washington and Kabul continue to negotiate an agreement governing the status and size of U.S. forces in the country after security operations are handed over to local troops by the end of 2014. All U.S. combat troops are expected to leave the country by that year as the White House accelerates its withdrawal timeline.

President Obama announced in his State of the Union address earlier this month that 34,000 U.S. troops, over half of the remaining 66,000 in Afghanistan, would begin to return home this spring, ahead of the initial early 2014 schedule.

The decision also follows Karzai’s move last week to ban the country’s military from requesting air support from U.S. or NATO forces during operations around residential areas.