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Karzai Demands Control of NATO's Afghan Militias

KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded the NATO-led international coalition troops hand over the control of Afghan militia groups to his government, his office said.

"A delegation led by the head of the National Security Council, Rangin Dadfar Spanta was assigned to ask the coalition troops to hand over the mentioned armed groups to Afghan security institutions within three months," the office said late Thursday.

International forces had created "parallel armed groups" in the past years - using them for such tasks as searching houses - of which the government had been unaware, said Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

Karzai had ordered all US special forces on Sunday to pull out of Wardak province within two weeks, accusing them of conducting operations that had led "to the death and disappearances of Afghan civilians."

"The decision was made after the government received several complaints regarding abuses and misconduct by the US soldiers," Faizi said on Sunday.

The central province of Wardak, neighbouring Kabul, is one of the most strategically important areas in the country due to a highway linking the national capital with southern Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan Hamid Karzai