Here we are in 2018, and here is yet another article detailing the systematic abuse of Afghan boys. I have written about the abuse almost every year for a decade. Several of my posts detail instances of United States, Canadian, and British forces knowing of the abuse yet doing nothing. Here is yet another article, this time from the New York Times, showing that despite the government’s full knowledge of the rampant sexual abuse of Afghan boys, nothing has been done to prevent it.
According to the article:
On 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016, the United States military asked to review Afghan military units to see if there were any instances of “gross human rights abuses.” If there were, American law required military aid to be cut off to the offending unit.
Not once did that happen.
That was among the findings in an investigation into child sexual abuse by the Afghan security forces and the supposed indifference of the American military to the problem, according to a report released on Monday by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, known as Sigar.
The report, commissioned under the Obama administration, was considered so explosive that it was originally marked “Secret/No Foreign,” with the recommendation that it remain classified until June 9, 2042. The report was finished in June 2017, but it appears to have included data only through 2016, before the Trump administration took office.
Let us stop here to acknowledge what the New York Times just stated. According to the NYT, the Obama administration requested the investigation, and upon receiving the findings they sought to classify them for almost 30 years. This is solely because of the nature of the findings.
In short, it looks so bad that the Obama administration did not want anyone to see it.
Keep in mind, what the administration attempted to hide is the systematic rape of boys. These are boys as young as five years old being kidnapped, sold, or freely given to powerful Afghan officials and warlords with full knowledge that these men will physically, emotionally, and sexually abuse the boys for years.
The attempt to hide this information from the public, which at this point is useless given the numerous articles about the subject, demonstrates an unfathomable callousness. These are children, yet we see an administration willing to turn a blind eye to child rape.
It gets worse:
The report released on Monday was heavily redacted, and at least in the public portions it did little to answer questions about how prevalent child sexual abuse was in the Afghan military and police, and how commonly the American military looked the other way at the widespread practice of bacha bazi, or “boy play,” in which some Afghan commanders keep underage boys as sex slaves.
“Although DOD and State have taken steps to identify and investigate child sexual assault incidents, the full extent of these incidences may never be known,” the report said, referring to the departments of Defense and State.
That could be false. Given how much of the report was redacted, we have no idea what was included in those blacked out portions. It seems unlikely, however, that so many media outlets can gather information about the frequency and nature of the rape and abuse, yet the US government is incapable of determining that despite working with the people who rape and abuse these boys.
Sigar said it had opened an investigation into bacha bazi at the request of Congress and in response to a 2015 New York Times article that described the practice as “rampant.” The article said that American soldiers who complained had their careers ruined by their superiors, who had encouraged them to ignore the practice.
“DOD and State only began efforts to address this issue after it was raised by The New York Times,” said John F. Sopko, the special inspector general. “And even after that story, the sufficiency of policies they’ve put in place and the resources they’ve committed seem questionable. When Congress passed the Leahy laws they prioritized the issue of gross human rights violations. As our report clearly shows, both agencies failed to live up to that task.”
One must wonder why the US cares so little about this issue. The NYT details accounts from former Special Forces officer, Capt. Dan Quinn and Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, both of whom assaulted men who abused boys. The men faced punishment for their actions despite their motivation being solely to protect the boys being abused. In Quinn’s case, the boy was chained to a bed and used as a sex slave. In Martland’s case, the boy was kidnapped, raped, and his mother was beaten to keep her quiet.
According to the NYT:
As of Aug. 12, 2016, the Defense Department was investigating 75 instances of gross human rights violations, seven involving child sexual assault, but even Defense Department officials acknowledged that that was a small portion of the total, the Sigar report said.
Under the Leahy Law, United States military aid funds must be cut off to any foreign military unit implicated in gross human rights violations, which includes the practice of bacha bazi, with its enslavement and rape of young boys. But another provision of American law, called the “notwithstanding clause,” says that Afghan military aid should be available “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”
The Sigar report said that the “notwithstanding clause” had been used repeatedly to evade cutting off military aid to Afghan units.
This is absurd. There is nothing “notwithstanding” about systematic child rape. The practice is against the law in Afghanistan, and certainly violates international law. It is grossly inexcusable to ignore this kind of abuse under the argument that Afghanistan needs military aid.
The people you are aiding rape children. Perhaps you should rethink your support.
The practice is so widespread that at least one of the 2014 Afghan presidential candidates was a onetime C.I.A.-backed warlord, Gul Agha Shirzai, who was widely accused of being a pedophile who keeps bacha bazi boys.
This is the group of people the US government backs.
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about this situation is that this practice only came back when US and other forces removed the Taliban from power. When the Taliban controlled the area, they outlawed the practice and heavily punished anyone caught doing it.
In short, the Taliban prevented child rape, but the US government turns a blind eye to it.
Even the most capable writers could not weave something so fantastic.
You have written about this before and, in the interim, nothing is being done. We can now say that it is US policy to encourage this and a terrible debt is being accrued.
“Several of my posts detail instances of United States, Canadian, and British forces knowing of the abuse yet doing nothing.”
Australia are involved as well.
> In short, the Taliban prevented child rape, but the US government turns a blind eye to it.
The Taliban also prohibited opium farming. Anyone who pays attention knows that in many respects, the USA and its allies are the bad guys.
We all know, if it had been girls, something would have been done. Just look at the Larry Nasser/USA Gymnastics case. Of the gymnasts had been boys, it wouldn’t have exploded the way it did.
No doubt the Taliban are horrific, but this is unacceptable. Very much a case of “it’s OK, it’s their culture” view from the US government. Shameful.
I’d like to see Australia added to your list of participating nations.
David Morrison, who was in charge of the Australian forces, returned to Australia and promptly stated prancing around the country promoting White Ribbon. Hypocrites.