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Special Forces to exit key province

Feb. 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Afghanistan has banned U.S. Special Forces from operating in a province near Kabul, saying Afghans working for the elite force have tortured villagers.

The New York Times reported Sunday the order is set to be implemented within two weeks in the Maidan Wardak province. The newspaper said the province lies southwest of Kabul and is used by the Taliban to launch attacks on the capital.

The Times said that with the scheduled withdrawal of regular U.S. combat troops, the special operations teams would have been the only offensive troops in the area.

The report said coalition leaders were told of the order Sunday afternoon, and were still trying to find out what it actually involved.

Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, said the country's National Security Council decided to impose the ban after weeks of trying to get answers to accusations that Maidan Wardak residents were being killed or tortured or had disappeared.

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