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Then on February 16th, a student named Nasratullah was found under a bridge with his throat slit, two days, his family claimed, after he had been picked up by the Green Berets.Mass demonstrations erupted in Wardak, and Karzai demanded that the American Special Forces team leave, and by April, it did. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan warned: “The reported disappearances, arbitrary killings and torture – if proven to have been committed under the auspices of a party to the armed conflict – may amount to war crimes.” ast year, on the morning of November 10th, a slight, meek-faced, 38-year-old farmer – let’s call him Omar – with a fan-shaped beard and heavily callused hands, was standing with his neighbor, a 28-year-old shopkeeper and father of three named Gul Rahim, when they heard a bomb blast followed by gunfire.
In July, the Afghan government announced that it had arrested Zikria Kandahari, a translator who had been working for the American team, in connection with the murders, and that in turn Kandahari had fingered members of the Special Forces for the crimes. “After thorough investigation, there was no credible evidence to substantiate misconduct by ISAF or U. Nerkh, despite its orchards of apple trees and clean Himalayan air, is not an easy place to live.n the fall of 2012, a team of American Special Forces arrived in Nerkh, a district of Wardak province, Afghanistan, which lies just west of Kabul and straddles a vital highway. Army Green Berets, trained to wage unconventional warfare, and their arrival was typical of what was happening all over Afghanistan; the big Army units, installed during the surge, were leaving, and in their place came small groups of quiet, bearded Americans, the elite operators who would stay behind to hunt the enemy and stiffen the resolve of government forces long after America’s 13-year war in Afghanistan officially comes to an end. Sometimes our adversaries are the men and women of a community.” Officials at the American-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, categorically denied these allegations, which came at an extremely delicate moment – as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the American government were locked in still-unresolved negotiations over the future of American forces in Afghanistan. S.’s demand for continued legal immunity for its troops, which Karzai is reluctant to grant.The members installed themselves in the spacious quarters of Combat Outpost Nerkh, which overlooked the farming valley and had been vacated by more than 100 soldiers belonging to the regular infantry. But six months after its arrival, the team would be forced out of Nerkh by the Afghan government, amid allegations of torture and murder against the local populace. Privately, some American officials have begun to grumble about a “zero option” – where, as in Iraq, the U. would rather withdraw all its forces than subject them to local law – but both sides understand that such an action could be suicidal for the beleaguered Afghan government and devastating for American power in the region.If true, these accusations would amount to some of the gravest war crimes perpetrated by American forces since 2001. Yet a story like the one brewing in Nerkh has the potential to sabotage negotiations.By February 2013, the locals claimed 10 civilians had been taken by U. Special Forces and had subsequently disappeared, while another eight had been killed by the team during their operations. Watch highly disturbing footage of detainee abuses in Afghanistan Last winter, tensions peaked and President Karzai ordered an investigation into the allegations.And yet the presence of those militants might draw a drone strike or a raid from the Americans. Soon afterward, a convoy of Americans mounted on ATVs, followed by Afghan soldiers, came rumbling down the road.
Fearful, Omar and Gul Rahim put down their tools and went inside.
As they sat in the back room, surrounded by Omar’s young children, a burly, bearded American burst through the front door, accompanied by two Afghan translators who started searching the rooms.
Like much of Afghanistan’s rural population, the residents of the district, impoverished tenant farmers, are trapped between the inexorable pressures of the insurgency and the American military.
The militants, who have deep roots among the local population, will kill anyone who cooperates with the foreigners.
Even being seen talking to the Americans is a risk.
When the Taliban come to their houses at night, demanding food and shelter or the services of their sons, refusal can mean death. That November day, a roadside bomb had hit the American Special Forces team as it patrolled nearby, lightly injuring an American soldier and a translator.