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US forces give free pass to child sexual abusers in Afghanistan

US soldiers gather at Kandahar Air base in Afghanistan, January 23, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

American military troops stationed in Afghanistan have turned a blind eye on thousands of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan military forces over the past few years, including many instances of child sexual abuse, a new US government report has found.

The heavily-redacted report released this week by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, known as Sigar, was commissioned by the administration of former President Barack Obama and was supposed to remain “Secret/ No Foreign,” until June 2042.

According to the report, the US military has given a free pass to the Afghan accusers on no less than 5,735 cases between 2010 and 2016, breaching the Leahy Law which states military aid to the offending unit must be stopped.

As of August 12, 2016, the Pentagon had opened investigations into 75 instances of gross human rights violations, seven of the involving sexual assault on children.

The Sigar warned that a loophole in the Leahy Law, called the “notwithstanding clause,” was being repeatedly abused by military officials to continue the Afghan military aid.

This assistance to units that were aware of the crimes “undermines efforts by US government officials to engage with the Afghan government on the importance of respect for human rights and rule of law.”

The report does not specify how many times did the US soldiers ignored reports about the practice of bacha bazi, or “boy play,” where some Afghan commanders keep underage boys as their sex slaves.

“Although DOD (the US Department of Defense) and State have taken steps to identify and investigate child sexual assault incidents, the full extent of these incidences may never be known,” read the report by Sigar.

Capt. Dan Quinn, a former US Special Forces officer who was fired for allegedly beating up an Afghan pedophile, said the US military was to blame for the growing trade.

“We were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did,” Quinn told The New York Times.

Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a highly decorated Green Beret, was also relieved from duty after getting physical with an Afghan local police commander in Kunduz who was accused of kidnapping and raping a boy.

The serviceman was reinstated after a series of Congressional inquiries, the Times reported.

The Times also pointed to the suspicious death of US Marine Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr., who was killed at a checkpoint by one of the boys of a local commander. Buckley had on several occasions complained about the commander’s pedophilia.

None of these issues were mentioned in the Sigar report.

The report sheds more light on the dark sides of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, which has been followed by an ongoing occupation.

Washington had pledged to eradicate the Taliban and other terror groups wreaking havoc in Afghanistan. After years of deadly clashes, however, the Taliban are seemingly stronger while the Daesh (ISIL) terror group has also gained a foothold in the country.

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