Hamid Karzai orders US elite force to leave Maidan Wardak province after local reports of disappearance of nine people
Golnar Motevalli in Kabul
- guardian.co.uk, 24 February 2013 23.17 GMT
The Afghan government has ordered US special forces to leave one of Afghanistan‘s most restive provinces, Maidan Wardak, after receiving reports from local officials claiming that the elite units had been involved in the torture and disappearance of Afghan civilians.
US military officials have rejected the allegations but President Hamid Karzai, who convened a meeting of the Afghan national security council on Sunday, appears to believe the evidence was strong enough to demand US special forces leave Maidan Wardak within two weeks.
Security in the province bordering Kabul has deteriorated over the past year, and it has become a focus of US-led efforts to stop insurgents reaching the capital. The decision could have implications for relations with Washington and for US plans to maintain a counter-terrorist force in Afghanistan after Nato combat troops leave in 2014.