KABUL — The U.S. military in Afghanistan has determined that its forces weren't involved in the alleged abduction and killing of civilians in a restive eastern province, officials said on Monday.
“In recent months, a thorough review has confirmed that no coalition forces have been involved in the alleged misconduct in Wardak province,” Lt. Col. Les Carroll, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
Nonetheless, the Afghan government moved ahead to expel U.S. special forces from Wardak province within two weeks, undeterred by fears the decision could leave the area and the neighboring capital more vulnerable to al-Qaida and other insurgents.
A joint commission of inquiry composed of Afghan and NATO coalition officials will explore the claims raised over the weekend by President Hamid Karzai's administration.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry, asked at a news conference on Monday in London about Karzai's demand, said any concerns the Afghan government has will be “appropriately evaluated” by the international coalition.
Because special operations troops carry out classified missions, it is difficult to confirm their activities or links to local groups.
“The U.S. has had a long history in Afghanistan of working with some of these irregular militias that are not accountable to anyone,” said Sahr Muhammedally, legal adviser for the Center for Civilians in Conflict, who has studied such groups.
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