US com­man­dos hand over trou­bled area to Afghans

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS - KABUL—

U.S. spe­cial op­er­a­tions forces handed over their base in a strate­gic district of east­ern Afghanistan to lo­cal Afghan spe­cial forces on Satur­day, se­nior U.S. com­man­ders said.

The with­drawal sat­is­fies a de­mand by Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai that U.S. forces leave the area af­ter al­le­ga­tions that the Amer­i­cans’ Afghan coun­ter­parts com­mit­ted hu­man rights abuses there on U.S. or­ders.

The trans­fer of author­ity ends a par­tic­u­larly rocky episode in the strained re­la­tions be­tween the U.S. and Karzai. He had in­sisted that U.S. forces leave Nirkh district in War­dak province over the al­leged tor­ture, kid­nap­ping and sum­mary ex­e­cu­tion of mil­i­tant sus­pects there — charges U.S. of­fi­cials firmly de­nied.

The larger strug­gle of Karzai’s government to as­sert its author­ity over se­cu­rity mat­ters, even as its green se­cu­rity forces try to as­sume con­trol of much of the coun­try from coali­tion forces on a rushed time­line, ahead of the sched­uled with­drawal of most of coali­tion forces by De­cem­ber 2014.

“As we pledged, our forces have tran­si­tioned Nirkh district to Afghan na­tional se­cu­rity forces and they have now as­sumed full re­spon­si­bil­ity for se­cu­rity in this key district,” Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, the top com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in a state­ment re­leased Satur­day. “The rest of War­dak will con­tinue to tran­si­tion over time as Afghan forces con­tinue to grow in ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity,” he added.—AP

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