Report: US Funds Afghan Army Despite Use of Child Sex Slaves

And that appears to be against US law
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2018 6:06 PM CST
A child watches as Afghan security personnel patrol the site of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The Leahy Law requires that US aid be cut off from foreign military units involved in gross human rights violations. A report commissioned by the Obama administration following stories of the "rampant" use of young boys as sex slaves by commanders—the practice is known as "bacha bazi"—among Afghan military and police forces was released Monday. The New York Times reports that despite finding more than 5,750 instances of the US military reporting accusations of "gross human rights abuses," including the sexual abuse of a child, by the Afghan military, funding to the accused units was never once cut off—seemingly in violation of US law. The report, prepared by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, states this "undermines" America's efforts to convince Afghanistan of "the importance of respect for human rights."

Special inspector general John Sopko says the Defense and State departments have "failed to live up to [the] task" of stopping gross human rights violations. Because of the implications in the report, it was originally recommended that it be classified until 2042. Instead the version released Monday was heavily redacted, making it unclear how pervasive bacha bazi is among Afghan military and police forces. However, US soldiers have said they've been forced out after reporting the practice to their superiors and have been instructed to ignore it. The report found no evidence of ignoring bacha bazi as official policy in Afghanistan. It recommends changing a clause used by the US military to get around the Leahy Law and finally pulling funding from Afghan units implicated in child sexual abuse. Read the full story here.

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