U.S. special operations forces handed over their base in a strategic district of eastern Afghanistan to Afghan special forces on Saturday, a senior U.S. commander said, ending a particularly rocky episode in the strained relations between the two.

Mr. Karzai had insisted that U.S. forces leave Nirkh district in Wardak province over the alleged torture, kidnapping and summary execution of militant suspects there, charges U.S. officials firmly denied.

He had originally demanded the pull out from the entire province, a gateway and staging area for Taliban and other militants for attacks on the capital Kabul. However, he scaled down later after negotiations with U.S. officials.

One Wardak government official said local officials were worried their new forces would not yet be able to keep hardcore insurgents out of the area, contrary to public statements made by Mr. Karzai. — AP

Children killed

AFP reports from Ghazni:

A NATO helicopter strike killed two children close to Ghazni city in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said. A spokesman for the NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said it was seeking further information.