Moral Low Ground


Afghan President Karzai Expels US Special Forces from Maidan Wardak Province for Allegedly “Torturing and Murdering” Civilians

US special forces in Afghanistan. (Photo: Pentagon)

US special forces in Afghanistan. (Photo: Pentagon)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered US special forces troops out of the restive Maidan Wardak province, accusing the Americans of involvement in the disappearance, torture and murder of civilians.

Al Jazeera reports that Afghan presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi accused US special forces of stoking “insecurity and instability” in Maidan Wardak.

“In today’s 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 said, accusing the Americans and individuals linked to them of “harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.”

Faizi said that “misconduct” linked to the Americans included the beheading of a student and the disappearance of nine local civilians.

“Such actions have caused local public resentment and hatred,” a national security council statement alleged.

Faizi said that the government arrived at its decision to expel the Americans after months of reported abuses.

“People have been complaining about US special forces units torturing people, killing people in that province, and nine individuals were taken from their homes recently and they have just disappeared and no one knows where they have gone,” Faizi said.

Last month, seven civilians were killed in a mysterious explosion at a mosque that had just been the target of a night raid by Afghan and US special forces in the Sayd Abad district of Maidan Wardak. The civilian victims had been attempting to remove bodies of resistance fighters killed during the assault.

The Guardian reports that security in Maidan Wardak, which borders Kabul, has deteriorated over the last year as US-led forces attempt to stop resistance fighters from reaching the capital.

“These individuals in the US special forces, who are behind these crimes like murdering and torturing people and harassing people, this is in itself an elemental factor in the deteriorating security situation,” Faizi explained.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) acknowledged receiving the order to leave Maidan Wardak.

“We take allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them, but until we’ve had a chance to talk to senior government of Afghanistan officials, we’re not in a position to comment further,” an ISAF statement read.

The order to leave Maidan Wardak comes less than a week after President Karzai signed a decree barring Afghan security forces from requesting NATO air strikes during operations in residential areas, a response to the continued killing of innocent civilians in such attacks. Earlier this month, a US air strike killed 10 civilians, almost all of them women and children, in Chawgam village, Kunar province.

The killing of innocent civilians has long been a point of contention between the Afghan government and the US-led invasion and occupation force. Karzai once even threatened to turn on the occupiers and join the Taliban if NATO did not stop killing innocents.

It is not known exactly how many Afghan civilians have been killed since the 2001 US-led attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda began, but the number is believed to be well over 15,000. The vast majority of these deaths have been attributed to the Taliban and associated resistance fighters.

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