Taliban may take control of some provinces after NATO pullout - Afghan general

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from the Wardak province in two weeks, Afghan Gen. Abdul Hadi Khalid said in an interview with the Voice of Russia on Wednesday.

He explained the decision with information that Afghan servicemen from that unit had kidnapped, raped and tortured innocent civilians.

The order needs serious consideration, the general said.

"Wardak is one of Afghanistan's less stable provinces. The Taliban and other Islamists are active there, and the only force that can give feasible resistance to them is the special forces," he said.

"It is the joint unit of U.S.-Afghan special forces thanks to which the situation in the provinces of Wardak, Logar and Ghazni is currently more or less stable. In many villages, Islamists' positions are too strong for the Afghan army to cope with them without any outside help," the general said.

Khalid thinks that the provincial authorities are deceiving the president.

"It looks like the authorities of Wardak just want to shift the blame for their inability to stabilize the situation in the province on the special force unit. However, if the population has a negative attitude towards the special forces, this would only play into the hands of Islamists. At present, there is a serious threat that if U.S. and NATO forces leave Wardak, Islamists would seize control over the province," the general noted.

"I believe that a supreme military institution should be formed in Afghanistan, which would consist both of Afghans and Americans, and which would distribute functions among lower military institutions," the General concluded.

He also said that Karzai should dismiss "several incompetent people" in governments of provinces.

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