Hamid Karzai reins in U.S. forces: What it means for the Afghan war

The Afghan president boots American commandos from an insurgent hotbed over troubling accusations against U.S.-trained Afghan forces

Afghan President Karzai
(Image credit: AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given elite American forces two weeks to leave the strategically important Wardak province, which the Taliban have been using as a staging ground for attacks on the capital, Kabul. Karzai's aides say the move is in response to allegations that Afghans working with U.S. special forces had tortured or killed civilians in the area. U.S. military leaders said they took the allegations seriously, although Americans were suspected of enabling abuses rather than committing them.

The ban signals to a population fed up with war that the government is taking a harder line over alleged abuses by foreign troops ahead of the end of the NATO mission in 2014. But will this move backfire and give Islamist insurgents carte blanche in this key region? "I'm not saying things are going to hell in a handbasket yet," says Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, "but this isn't a good sign." Plus, there's something fishy about the charges that Afghan units trained by the U.S. beheaded a local university student in the area.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.