Newly appointed Afghan War commander Gen. Joe Dunford stepped up to the plate in Afghanistan and, according to Foreign Policy’s Gordon Lubold, promptly whiffed when Afghan President Hamid Karzai “threw a curveball.”Dunford, who took over command of the International Security Assitance Force (ISAF) from Gen. John Allen Feb. 11, was in command less than two weeks when Karzai issued a statement excoriating and evicting special forces from the Warduk province.
Since the announcement, ISAF has been deadly quiet about its special forces getting the boot.
It started Karzai’s statement, issued Sunday:
“[A]rmed individuals named as US special force stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge.”
Karzai’s eviction notice came with a two week buffer, giving the teams time to make their exodus. In the meantime, Dunford’s ISAF just gave Lubold a statement today saying, in essence, that it takes allegations seriously and that it intends to conduct a full investigation.
The ISAF spokespeople kept mum about whether or not the troops were actually leaving, essentially claiming “operational security,” meaning they don’t discuss troop movements. The statement is both elusive and understandable.
The announcement with regard to special operations forces comes on the heels of Obama and Karzai’s joint announcement that the pace of turnover in Afghanistan will be “accelerated.”
Again, not quite silently noted is the how the difficulties Obama faces in getting a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) factored in to the decision to accelerate the process. Among other things, the SOFA maintains immunity for foreign troops fighting in the Afghan War.
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