US Special Forces Plunge Into Controversy
No windup is in sight to the hot talks regarding alleged involvement of US Special Forces in harassment, torture and killing of civilians in Maidan Wardak province as the Afghan government is distressed. The National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Hamid Karzai has directed the Defense Ministry to clear the province from American troops within two weeks. The decision was made when the defense ministry confirmed that US Special Forces and Afghan citizens working for them were disturbing the locals in the pretext of security. In different areas of the province people were tortured or picked up by American forces and their Afghan associates as per media reports.
On the other hand response from the US military and ISAF was quick and similar. Amazingly on Monday both the US military and ISAF’s spokesman Gunter Katz termed the allegations as a serious issue and vowed to probe into the matter while taking the Afghan government on board. However, ISAF before completing any investigation had denied involvement of US Special Forces in the harassment of civilians in Maidan Wardak province. NATO, ISAF and the United States are always seen together on the other side of line. Hence, their version was already envisaged. But, such unpredictable fury shown by the Afghan government is worth noticing, because Washington and Kabul are standing at a point where any bad move could strain ties of the both countries and may be jeopardize the peace plan that is on cards.
Though, the issue could not be resolved with a blink of an eye due to its severity. However, certain steps could minimize the harms that would emerge as a result of decisions that the US or Afghan authorities are going to take in next few days. The trust deficit should be reduced instead of widening it further. Otherwise, it would blanket the mutual ties with suspicions, especially keeping in view the already fragile relations.
The United States should respect decision of the NSC while withdrawing its special forces from Wardak province. US military officials in Afghanistan should also release all those civilians who were not involved in terror activities but were victimized by those Afghans working with US Special Forces. Furthermore, they should hand over the Afghan citizens who worked with them and were responsible for the mess to the Afghan government. In addition to that they should not carry out independent military operations, unless authorized by the Afghan government. If they want to extend their stay in the country they should respect Afghanistan’s constitution and sovereignty; otherwise they will have to embark for their homeland.
The Afghan government needs to become active and keep vigilant eyes on its citizens working with foreign troops as there is possibility that they might indulge into criminal activities. Considerable power should be given to police chiefs for protection of public lives and properties. If a police chief is worried about his post and is influenced by lawmakers then how could he perform his duties efficiently?