American Soldiers were horrified at the numerous incidents of child rape in Iraq and Afghanistan. An adult male family member was the typically the perpetrator. Sometimes the young victims were brought into U.S. combat hospitals for treatment of their unmentionable injuries.
Today, the Pentagon’s Inspector General said he will launch a full-scale investigation “into how U.S. troops and commanders handled repeated allegations that Afghan men, particularly Afghan military and police leaders, had sexually abused children.” Crimes against children within families will not be part of the investigation.
The preliminary research into the allegations began in October 2015. This week it was determined there was sufficient reason to pursue a more formal investigation.
This investigation comes as the United States Army is making its final decision regarding Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Special Forces Soldier who faces discharge from the Army for beating an alleged child rapist in Afghanistan. The Green Beret was approached by the child’s mother in 2011. She woman said she had been beaten by a local police commander and that her son had been raped.
Martland is not the only Soldier who either witnessed or knew of the widespread sexual abuse. Unfortunately, the Americans believed there was either a written or unwritten policy for them to ignore the abuses; ostensibly to keep peace between them and their Afghan counterparts.
Military Times published this today:
The sexual abuse of boys is widespread in Afghanistan, often referred to as “Bacha Bazi” — literally, “boy play.” Several troops have said they were punished or disciplined for intervening or taking action against Afghans whom they believed were sexually assaulting children, in some cases on joint military installations.
The following is a partial list of focus items for the investigation as released by the Pentagon:
• What training has been conducted or planned for U.S. military personnel for identifying and responding to alleged child sexual abuse, or the obligation to report suspected violations?
• Is there or was there any Defense Department guidance, informal or otherwise, to discourage reporting by military affiliated personnel?
• Are U.S. military personnel authorized to use force to stop instances where they witness child sexual abuse by Afghan military personnel on bases in Afghanistan? When military leaders received reports of alleged or suspected abuse, how did they respond?
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