US commandos hand over troubled area to Afghans

A U.S. soldier stands guard during a training session for Afghan National Police at their combat outpost in the Jalrez Valley in Afghanistan's Wardak Province, Sept. 19, 2009.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A senior U.S. commander says American special operations forces have handed over their base in eastern Afghanistan's Nirkh district to local Afghan commandos - meeting a demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that U.S. forces withdraw from the district after allegations that their Afghan counterparts committed human rights abuses there.

Maj. Gen. Tony Thomas, who is the top U.S. special operations commander in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press Saturday that Afghan special forces have taken the Americans' place and will work alongside local Afghan policemen to keep insurgents from using the area to attack the capital Kabul. Thomas says U.S. commandos will continue to operate throughout the rest of Wardak province.

Afghan security officials reached Saturday were not yet aware of the change.

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