Updated: 03/16/2013 21:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Hundreds protest in Kabul over US special forces

Hundreds of Afghan demonstrators on Saturday marched to the parliament complex in the capital Kabul demanding US special forces withdraw from Wardak province after allegations of abuse.


Hundreds protest in Kabul over US special forces

Hundreds protest in Kabul over US special forces

President Hamid Karzai ordered elite US units to pull out of the strategic province after he alleged that US soldiers and Afghan militia working with them had tortured and murdered civilians.

A few hundred protesters, many from Wardak, gathered in Kabul for the rally, which was overseen by a large number of armed riot police.

"We put up strict security measures and after the members of the parliament promised they would address these complaints, the protesters dispersed peacefully," Kabul deputy police chief General Daud Amin told AFP.

"They were demanding the withdrawal of American special forces from Wardak and also the release of some people detained by the Americans in the province."

Karzai had demanded that US special forces withdraw by last Sunday but he later gave more time to US military leaders who say they are still negotiating the security hand-over in Wardak.

Afghan security forces are taking over responsibility across the country for battling the Taliban insurgency as the NATO-led coalition prepares to pull out most of its 100,000 troops by the end of next year.

Karzai's stance on Wardak, a key province adjacent to Kabul, was one of a series of anti-US moves in recent weeks as his relations with Washington have fallen to a new low.

Karzai is due to step down at elections next year, 13 years after he came to power with US backing when the hardline Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.

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