Distrust between ISAF and Afghans increases | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 26.02.2013
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Distrust between ISAF and Afghans increases

ISAF is looking into allegations that US special forces in the Afghan province of Wardak have been working with locals responsible for torture and murder. They have been ordered to pull out within the next two weeks.

US special forces have been given two weeks to withdraw from the province of Wardak, a hotbed of Taliban activity that is just a few kilometers west of Kabul. In August 2011, eight Afghans and 30 Americans were killed when a Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban.

Recently, there have been many allegations of misconduct on the part of Afghan local militia trained by US forces. Many people are thought to have disappeared. "The special forces search houses, harassing the population and they are also responsible for the killing of innocent people," Afghan presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi told Deutsche Welle.

U.S. Army soldiers REUTERS/Andrew Burton

US troops are supposed to withdraw by 2014

He said that many inhabitants had complained to the government in Kabul and that's why President Hamid Karzai had taken the decision to order the US special forces to pull out.

He added that there were photos and other evidence that "the special forces took part in harassment and killings." He also said the Afghan security forces had been ordered “to prevent house searches in Maidan Wardak to protect the life and property of the population."

No evidence

At a news conference, spokesman for the US-led NATO mission Brigadier General Gunter Katz said: "We're looking at those allegations, we didn't find any evidence and we will talk to our colleagues and Afghan partners to find a solution."

Afghanistan President Karzai press conference in Kabul on Jan 14 2013 Copyright: Afghan Eyes

President Karzai says civilian casualties will fuel the insurgency

On a visit to London, US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that the complaints would be investigated. "With respect to Afghanistan and Wardak province, I understand the concerns that they have expressed. Any complaints that they may have ought to be appropriately evaluated, and they will be, I can assure you."

A defense official in Washington pointed out that no ISAF troops themselves had been involved in alleged misconduct in Wardak province.

Nonetheless, the latest incident has only served to exacerbate relations between Kabul and Washington which are already quite fraught. Karzai said earlier this month that Afghan security forces would be banned from calling for NATO air strikes in residential areas after 10 civilians died in one such strike.

Karzai has said that civilian deaths could sap support for foreign troops and fuel the insurgency.

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