More information about the alleged abuses by US special forces in Wardak province of Afghanistan is now coming to light.
As reported earlier in All Voices, Karzai ordered US Special Forces out of Wardak after a meeting on Sunday with the National Security Council. According to an AP article, Wardak Provincial Governor, Abdul Khogyani, and other officials blamed Afghans who were working with US special forces for the disappearance of at least nine men as well as the murder of an Afghan student. The US forces were being expelled because of their association with the Afghans in their employ. One wonders if the Afghans were following orders from their paymasters or perhaps these are joint operations.
The relationship between the US special forces and the Afghans is tailor made to enable the special forces to deny taking part in the abuse or killing. Khogyani and other officials also claim that the Afghans working for the US special forces were involved in torture, killings, and illegal detentions.
The ISAF statement came as the Afghan government moved ahead with the order to expel the special forces from Wardak within two weeks. Provincial officials and analysts were concerned that the decision will leave the area more vulnerable to insurgents. They agreed that the allegations should be further investigated however. The armed Afghans were said not to be part of Afghan security forces. This implies that they are secret militias working for the Americans. One wonders just how many of these secret militias work for the Americans and who is responsible for their actions. Does the Afghan government actually get to approve these militias? The comments of German Gen. Gunter Katz said that ISAF found no evidence that foreign forces were involved in abuses. However, he said nothing about the Afghans alleged to be working for the US special forces. Pay someone else to do your dirty work would seem to be the operative principle involved here. Katz said::"We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them. Over the past few weeks there have been various allegations of special forces conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner.. "so far, we could not find evidence that would support these allegations."
An ISAF spokesperson, Jamie Graybeal, said that the two sides had agreed to a joint commission to look into current concerns of citizens in Wardak. The presidential spokesperson who had originally announced Karzai's decision said that the government had asked NATO about these groups in the past and never received a satisfactory answer. This would seem to indicate that the Afghan government has no say at all with respect to these militias.
Wardak province is a transit point for insurgents coming from the south and east. An area outside of the provincial capital is so dangerous that local officials are unable to go to their offices by road. Jawed Kohistani, a political and military analyst said that there were at least 100 insurgent groups that operate in Wardak.This sounds a bit overblown. He warned that the situation would get worse if US special forces were withdrawn:"They can attack convoys, destabilize the security situation in Kabul. It is giving them opportunity to get stronger in Wardak, and that will be a real threat to the security of Kabul city." However, the Afghan government has already taken the lead for security in Wardak and says it is capable of dealing with the situation.
Of course there is no information about how many US special forces are operating in Wardak. General Katz said:"We never talk about special operating forces. We don't about their numbers either." Special forces seem like drones.
Sher Bazon, who is a member of the Wardak provincial council, said that there had been many complaints about Afghan groups working with the Americans. He believes that the issue should have been solved by talking with the Americans instead of by deciding to force the special forces out of the province. He complained that officials could not travel to their areas by road unless they had a convoy of security forces.