US Military faces allegations of overlooking abuse of Afghan boys

The actions of two U.S. soldiers who used physical force to stop an Afghan police commander from sexually abusing a boy have been frowned upon by their superiors. CNN reports that Dan Quinn and Charles Martland were removed from their respective duties, with Quinn leaving the military and Martland separating from the army, involuntarily.

The soldiers took action against a known issue for forces in Afghanistan. “Bacha bazi” or “boy play,” where young Afghanistan boys are used as sex slaves by grown men. The issue is hard to stop for U.S. soldiers, especially in cases where the act is carried out by an Afghan commander working alongside U.S. forces.

Despite The New York Times reporting that soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan have been told not to intervene with these activities, some of which take place on military bases, the Pentagon has stated that it is not their practice to tell soldiers to look the other way in these cases.

Multiple outlets have reported on the sexual abuse of boys in Afghanistan, in the past. In 2011 and 2012 the Afghan Interior Ministry received reports of abuse, but took steps to address the problem. A spokesman for the Ministry, Sediq Sediqqi, told CNN, “We have started taking the issue very seriously and have brought fundamental changes.”

A case has been brought up with Defense Secretary Ash Carter by U.S Representative Duncan Hunter in attempt to clear the soldiers names.

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