U.S. special operations forces handed over their base in a strategic district of eastern Afghanistan to local Afghan special forces on Saturday, senior U.S. commanders said. The withdrawal satisfies a demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that U.S. forces leave the area after allegations that the Americans' Afghan counterparts committed human rights abuses there on U.S. orders.
The U.S. military and the Afghan government reached a deal Wednesday on a gradual pullout of American special forces and their Afghan counterparts from a contentious eastern province, officials said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday officially banned the nation's security forces from requesting international airstrikes during operations in residential areas.
The Taliban denied Wednesday that the movement is planning direct talks with the Afghan government to end the 10-year-old war, while a leaked NATO report suggested the insurgents are confident they will regain power after international troops leave.
The Taliban's political wing is ready to enter peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, but the insurgents will in the meantime continue their armed struggle, the group said Thursday.
Pentagon leaders scrambled Thursday to contain damage from an Internet video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses — an act that appears to violate international laws of warfare and put further strains U.S.-Afghan relations.
Girls and women in Afghanistan still suffer shocking abuse. But the public outrage and the government's response to it also show that the country is slowly changing.
Afghanistan's president on Sunday rejected a U.S. apology for the mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in a NATO air attack and said civilian casualties are no longer acceptable.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai delayed parliament's opening session by one month Wednesday so that a controversial tribunal he has backed can continue its investigation into election fraud.