Several hundred demonstrators chanting “U.S. special operations forces out!” marched to the Afghan parliament building in Kabul Saturday, protesting the continued presence of U.S. commandos in Afghanistan’s troubled Wardak province.
Kabul’s deputy police chief Gen. Mohammad Daud Amin said the demonstration of roughly 500 Afghans has been peaceful.
The demonstrators are demanding the release of nine local citizens they believe were detained by the U.S. forces. Banners in the Afghan languages of Pashto and Dari as well as English read, “I want my father,” and “We want our prisoners back from the government, dead or alive.”
“Americans and U.S. special operations forces must leave,” said protester Abdul Hadi.
U.S. officials have acknowledged four men arrested in the province in joint U.S.-Afghan raids, but had no information on the other five alleged detainees.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had demanded all U.S. commandos leave the province early last week, but agreed to give top U.S. commander Gen. Joseph Dunford more time to craft a solution that maintains security in Wardak, which is used as a gateway by militants to bring bombers and weapons into Kabul.