Afghans protest US forces in restive province
Wardak residents stage a demonstration in Kabul, urging US Special Forces to leave their province.
Hundreds of residents of Maidan Wardak Province have come to Kabul and staged a protest in front of the parliament, demanding the US forces to adhere to Afghan president’s order for US Special Forces to pull out of the eastern province.
Saturday’s protest also saw between two and three hundred people from Wardak demand the release of nine locals, whom they believe are under the custody of US forces, the chief of Kabul police’s Criminal Investigations Department said.
“The demonstration was peaceful, but the protesters shouted anti-US slogans,” General Mohammed Zahir said.
The Special Forces were ordered by President Hamid Karzai to leave the Wardak a week ago amid mounting allegations of abuse by the US forces and the ‘irregular’ Afghan groups working alongside them.
A February statement issued by the presidential palace cited the nine villagers who “disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force” last October as one example of the abuse.
The whereabouts of the nine, who include seven truck drivers and two school teachers, remain unknown.
“In a separate incident,” the statment read, “a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge.”
To improve accountability, Karzai has given all irregular Afghan forces established by the NATO coalition three months to fall under government control. The deadline was declared only days after US special forces were told to leave Maidan Wardak.