Afghan President 'Won't Tolerate' Rape of 6-Year-Olds
US military denies troops were told to look the other way
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2015 1:07 AM CDT
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sings the national anthem after putting flowers on the Independence Minaret monument last month.   (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
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(Newser) – Afghanistan's president wants the world to know that he's as outraged as anybody by the widespread practice of abusing young boys and that he's going to do something about it. President Ashraf Ghani says the rape of boys as young as 6 is "unacceptable" and that his government will stamp it out "to the extent to which the authority of the state can be harnessed," the New York Times reports. "Six-year-, 8-year-, 10-year-olds are raped, and I'm not going to tolerate this." He was speaking after reports that US troops had been told to ignore the abuse of boys by their Afghan allies, reports the Times, which notes that the sexual abuse of boys was banned by the Taliban but is now once again common among powerful Afghans, including commanders in the security forces.

In a video conference with military commanders yesterday, Ghani ordered them to "recognize sexual abuse of children as one of the severest crimes and violations of human rights," Foreign Policy reports. The US military, meanwhile, denies that troops were told not to do anything about abuse involving the Afghan forces they work with, the AP reports. Gen. John Campbell, chief of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, issued a statement saying he expects "any suspicions of sexual abuse will be immediately reported to the chain of command, regardless of who the alleged perpetrators or victims are."