Afghans Protest for the Withdrawal of US forces from Maidan Wardak Provinces

Afghans Protest for the Removal of US Forces from Maidan WardakJNN 20 Mar 2013 Kabul : 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.

Wardak locals have been complaining of being abused by American special forces.

In late February, hundreds of protesters also gathered in Maidan Wardak demanding an immediate withdrawal of US forces.

The rising number of civilian casualties promoted President Hamid Karzai to order US special forces to leave the eastern province of Wardak.

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country despite the presence of thousands of US-led soldiers.

The US-led war, which has inflicted record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the American history.


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