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Special Forces booted from Afghan province

UPDATE: The Two Bills at Long War Journal have combined to take a look at this, and as always provide the best info on the topic. So go read it.

There is a report that Afghan President Karzai has told US Special Forces they must leave Wardak province.

"The order came after the governor of Wardak presented a report to the Afghan National Security Council today. The report alleges that special forces and armed groups created by them have committed a range of abuses in the volatile province that neighbors Kabul. President Karzai has long criticized U.S. raids on Afghan homes, but the claims in the report appear to go far beyond his previous allegations. The president's order says all special forces must cease operations immediately and leave the province within two weeks. A U.S .forces official says they have not seen the report and cannot comment until they can discuss the issue directly with the Afghan government."

Specifically there are claims a university student was beheaded and other folks have been disappeared. This being Afghanistan, there is not much chance of finding the objective truth about this. There is a gargantuan veracity black hole regarding pretty much everything that happens there. However, I think it highly unlikely that US Special Forces are authorizing their Afghan allies to behead university students. It is possible a rogue group or individual has done so, but institutionally it is just not going to happen.

If anything US Special Forces tend to be a moderating influence on the sometimes less than cricket tactics used by our allies. On one of my first deployments, we were working with a paramilitary police force that was actively fighting a nasty insurgency. There was no love lost at all between them and the insurgents/terrorists. When I asked them to describe their method for conducting a raid on an enemy village, they said they would sight in machine guns, "supress" the location with fire and then sweep through. This basically had them killing everyone and then counting the bodies.

Crude but effective and a pretty flagrant violation of the Laws of Armed Conflict. I was surprised by the amount of resistance to my suggestion that maybe they shouldn't kill everybody. They only came around to the idea of capturing a prisoner to interrogate when they figured they could torture some good intel out of him. Which opened up a whole new line of discussion/teaching points.

We deal with a lot of people who do not share our high regard for human life. It is a difficult task, but we tend to be on the side of good in this. That doesn't mean our ideas always prevail, they don't. But we do our best.