US Troops: We Were Told to Ignore Pedophile Allies

Abuse of boys widespread on Afghanistan bases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2015 2:17 AM CDT
Updated Sep 21, 2015 6:29 AM CDT
An Afghan police officer holds his machine gun after returning from patrol to the police base in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – American troops in Afghanistan say they were sickened to discover that many of the Afghan allies they worked with sexually abused young boys—and that they were expected to ignore it. Soldiers and Marines tell the New York Times that they were ordered not to intervene even when Afghan commanders abused children on military bases. The abuse—known to Afghans as "bacha bazi," or "boy play"—was explained away as a cultural issue, even though villagers were also outraged by the behavior of strongmen in the Afghan police and military. Those who did try to stop the abuse—like Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain relieved of his command after fighting an Afghan commander who kept a boy chained to his bed—say doing so ruined their careers in the military.

"The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people," Quinn tells the Times. "But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did." The father of Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. tells the Times that his son told him how he could hear the screams of boys being abused by Afghan policemen on his base. Buckley was shot dead by a 17-year-old Afghan boy in 2012, and his father believes that the attack took place because the Americans had turned a blind eye to the keeping of boys as sex slaves. Rights groups say such abuse is on the rise in Afghanistan, largely due to poverty and the unchecked power of warlords, and there isn't even specific legislation banning it, IWPR reports. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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