By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 – Allegations against U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province resulted in an effective model of transition for coalition and Afghan forces, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who also commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the unsubstantiated allegations provided ISAF officials, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials with the opportunity to develop an effective solution to transition.
Karzai expressed concerns over allegations of abuse, torture, harassment and murder of innocent Afghans by U.S. troops in the province, prompting him to request that ISAF withdraw all coalition troops from the region.
“At the time President Karzai gave us that direction, I let the president know that that would be unacceptable, both from a force- protection perspective, and from our ability to accomplish our objectives,” Dunford said. “He afforded us an opportunity to work with the minister of defense and minister of interior and come up with a transition plan for the Wardak province.”
Since that time, the general said, ISAF has removed U.S. Special Forces from one of the province’s districts. “There are nine districts in the province,” he added. “We removed Special Forces from one of those districts, and we replaced them with effective Afghan security forces.”
The situation turned out to be “a model for transition,” Dunford told the Senate panel.
“We had broad guidance from President Karzai,” he said. “We were able to work with the minister of defense and minister of interior to transition.”
This, he added, is exactly what is occurring across Afghanistan’s other provinces.
“We’re in the process of transitioning from provinces, so this particular incident worked out from my perspective,” Dunford said. “We have an effective solution.”