KABUL, September 29, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. military is shielding and turning a blind eye to child molestation occuring on U.S. military bases in the Middle East.
The New York Times has revealed Afghani forces trained by the U.S. military are kidnapping young boys and raping them on U.S. military bases, according to disturbed Marines and Army soldiers.
"At night we can hear the [the boys] screaming, but we're not allowed to do anything about it," Lance Corporal Gregory Buckly, Jr. told his father in a phone call. "My son said that officers told him to look the other way because it's their culture," his father, Gregory Buckley, Sr. reported.
Rampant sexual abuse of children is a longstanding problem in Afghanistan among armed commanders who rule much of the rural landscape, as they use their power to bully villages and kidnap young children.
The practice is known as bacha bazi, literally meaning "boy play," and American soldiers are strictly instructed not to intervene, even when such activity occurs on military bases, according to court records and reports from American soldiers.
This policy of turning a blind eye to child rape has been in place ever since the U.S. Armed Forces began training locals in combat and government. But soldiers are sickened and troubled that rather than punishing and eliminating pedophiles, the military is arming them and placing them in command of villages.
"The reason we were here is because we heard terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, because they were taking away human rights," said Dan Quinn, former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-trained and protected militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. "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."
The policy, however, is receiving new scrutiny now that it has been revealed soldiers like Quinn who protect the children from their aggressors receive punishment and their careers sometimes ended.
Following the beating, the Army relieved Captain Quinn of his command and took him out of Afghanistan. He has since retired from the military.
Four years later, the Army is trying to force Sergeant First Class Charles Martland into retirement for joining Captain Quinn in beating up the pedophile commander.
"The Army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way (a contention that I believe is nonsense)," wrote Duncan Hunter, a Republican California representative hoping to save Sergeant Mertland's career.
The excuse given for allowing such practices is to keep good relations with the Afghani people, as pederasty is a normal part of their culture, and is seen as a mark of high social status.
Treating it as a cultural difference the forces are not meant to correct, however, has alienated family members of those being abused. In the summer of 2011, Captain Quinn and Sergeant Martland, both Green Berets touring in the northern Kunduz Province, received complaints about the Afghan Local Police units they were training and supporting.
First, it was reported, one of the militia commanders had raped a 14- or 15-year old girl whom he spotted working in the fields. Captain Quinn informed the provincial police chief, who soon punished the abuser.
"He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him," Quinn reported.
When he asked a superior officer what more could be done, he was informed he had done well to bring it up with local officials, but there was nothing else to be done. "We're being praised for doing the right thing, and a guy just got away with raping a 14-year-old girl," Quinn said.
In another case in September 2011, a visibly beaten mother arrived at an American base with her limping son. An Afghan police commander, Abdul Rahman, had abducted the boy and chained him to a bed as he used him for a sex slave, the mother explained. When she sought his return, she was beaten in the attempt. Her son was eventually released, but she was afraid it might happen again.
She explained that because "her son was such a good-looking kid, he was a status symbol" used by local authorities, recalled Quinn.
Captain Quinn consequently summoned Abdul Rahman and confronted him about the issue. Rahman admitted it was true, but brushed it off. Quinn told Rahman "how you are held to a higher standard if you are working with U.S. forces, and people expect more of you," to which Rahman began to laugh.
"I picked him up and threw him onto the ground," Quinn explained, recalling that Sergeant Martland joined in. "I did this to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to that boy, that it was not going to be tolerated."
Colonel Brian Tribus, a spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, wrote in an email that "[g]enerally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law," adding that "there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it."
The Obama administration has yet to make a statement in response to these recent revelations.