Afghan President Hamid Karzai's announcement over the weekend that all U.S. special operations troops must leave an embattled district of Afghanistan sent shockwaves through the United States, which is are already poised to pull a majority of its troops out of the country before the end of next year.
The International Security Assistance Force issued a denial Monday of any misconduct in Wardak Province, following claims from Karzai that alleged prisoner abuse and torture. The region, controlled mostly by U.S. forces, is home to some of the country's most complicated offensives against the Taliban. The province's position, immediately to the west of Kabul, provides a direct link from the capital to southern Afghanistan.
German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, an ISAF spokesman, told reporters Monday that all missions in Wardak are conducted in partnership with Afghan troops.
A video NATO released at the end of the 2012 fighting season depicts the intense work joint forces conduct in the Wardak region.
In early August 2012, an Afghan Crisis Response Unit, along with ISAF mentors, boarded Chinook helicopters at night to assault two compounds, believed to the location of fighters who kidnapped and murdered an Afghan translator.
The ISAF members mentioned in the video include Norwegian special operations commandos, along with a Norwegian woman who was assigned to work around cultural restrictions that prohibit male soldiers from interacting with local women.
After conducting a forced entry into two compounds and gathering intelligence on potential targets, the team eventually arrests nine men.
An official from the Afghan Interior Ministry accompanies the team to decide ultimately who will be detained. Afghan law allows detaining suspects for 72 hours before official charges must be issued.
Check out the footage here:
The Office of President Karzai and ISAF declined to comment on whether the mission depicted in this video had any direct effect on Karzai's announcement.
Wardak encompasses some of the more deadly regions in the eastern portion of Afghanistan, with a total of 121 ISAF deaths since fighting began in 2001, according to iCasulaties.org.
The Afghan National Security Council met this weekend to discuss local complaints that special operations forces were abusing and torturing detainees. Karzai declared Sunday that U.S. commandos must withdraw from Wardak within two weeks.
The Office of President Karzai declined to comment on the situation, citing only Sunday's media release.
ISAF issued this statement on Monday:
"In recent months, a thorough review has confirmed that no Coalition forces have been involved in the alleged misconduct in Wardak province. Because we take these allegations seriously, ISAF and Afghanistan officials have agreed to a joint commission to look into the current concerns of citizens in Maidan Wardak."