Sunday, May 19, 2013
Tribune Washington Bureau
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered U.S. special forces troops to cease operations in a strategic eastern province, accusing the Americans and Afghans working for them of torturing and abducting civilians.
Karzai's office charged that a university student who was detained during a U.S. operation in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, was later found with his head and fingers cut off. In another case, U.S. forces are accused of detaining nine villagers who are still missing.
Karzai gave no additional details and did not specify the identities of the Afghans working alongside the U.S. forces. The Wardak provincial chief of police said that he had recently assigned officers to investigate the claims but had seen nothing that supported them. "I don't have any evidence in hand in regard to this issue," said the chief, Sardar Mohammad Zazai.
The lack of specifics added to the confusion surrounding the accusations, which blindsided U.S. officials in Kabul. State Department and military officials were not briefed about the decision before Karzai's chief spokesman announced it at a news conference Sunday evening.