Colin Freeman reports for the UK Telegraph, Sept. 22, 2015, that the U. S. military is accused of encouraging our troops in Afghanistan to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse of young boys committed by local army commanders whom we had trained.
Former U.S. soldiers say they were ordered to ignore local Afghan commanders taking young boys as sexual playthings — a practice known as bacha bazi (“boy play”) which is common in Islamic Afghanistan where extra-marital sex and female prostitution are frowned upon. The veterans say the U.S. military placed greater priority on maintaining good relations with local Afghan commanders and militia leaders because they will take over once American forces pull out.
The New York Times says soldiers who objected to the abuse often found themselves facing disciplinary proceedings as a result.
Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who, along with a colleague, was disciplined for allegedly beating up a U.S.-backed Afghan militia commander who kept a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave, told the NYT: “The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights. But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”
In 2012, a U.S. Marine stationed in Afghanistan, LCpl Gregory Buckley Jr., was shot by one of a large entourage of “tea boys” living with an Afghan police commander named Sarwar Jan on the military base in Helmand Province.
Buckley’s father blames bacha bazi for his son’s death, saying that the teenage boy who killed his son may have blamed him for failing to stop abuse by a local Afghan commander.
Buckley Sr. told the NYT that he is tormented by the possibility that his son’s death was linked to the sexual abuse: “As far as the young boys are concerned, the marines are allowing it to happen and so they’re guilty by association. They don’t know our marines are sick to their stomachs.”
General John F. Campbell, commander of both US and allied forces in Afghanistan — a post he assumed on August 26, 2014, in other words, an Obama appointee — denied on Sept. 22 there was ever a policy for forces to ignore Afghan officials’ sexual abuse of minors.
Campbell said in a statement:
“I personally have served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and am absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here, and certainly, no such policy has existed throughout my tenure as commander. I want to make absolutely clear that any sexual abuse or similar mistreatment of others, no matter the alleged perpetrator or victim, is completely unacceptable and reprehensible.”
Blah, blah, blah.
LCpl Buckley’s Facebook page here.
H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV and christy
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Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.