Abuse accusation: Pentagon Afghan Child Abuse

Published: September 22, 2015

Abuse accusation: Pentagon Afghan Child Abuse, The incidents of sexual assault on children described by American service members who served in Afghanistan are sickening. Boys screaming in the night as Afghan police officers attacked them. Three or four Afghan men found lying on the floor of a room at a military base with children between them, presumably for sex play.

No less offensive is that American soldiers and Marines who wanted to intervene could not. According to an account in The Times by Joseph Goldstein, they were ordered by their superiors to ignore abusive behavior by their Afghan allies and “to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

The Pentagon’s indulgent, even complicit, attitude toward pedophiles among the Afghan militias that it funded and trained is indefensible, at odds with American values and with international laws Washington has taken the lead in promoting.

Pervasive sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan. It is especially pronounced among armed commanders who control rural regions and hold sway over the population there. The practice is known as bacha bazi, or boy play; powerful Afghan men often surround themselves with young teenagers as a mark of social status.

By instructing American soldiers and Marines not to interfere, even if the incidents occurred on American bases, the Pentagon has chosen – reprehensibly – to sacrifice vulnerable children in order to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militias it needs to fight the Taliban.

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