Pentagon: Afghan Child Abuse Should Not Be Interfered With Because It's 'Cultural'
Why was U.S. Army captain Dan Quinn relieved of his military duties?
He describes what he did: "I picked him up, threw him to the ground multiple times," he refers to an Afghan police officer who was abusing a small boy, who he had tied to his bed as a sex slave, according to CNN.
"We basically had to make sure that he fully understood that if he ever went near that boy or his mother again, there was going to be hell to pay," Quinn said.
For that, Quinn, with Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, agreed that he had "assaulted" the Afghan police commander.
Afghans consider sex play with small boys, or 'bacha bazi' to be part of their culture. The older, adult men get young boys around them and use them sexually. Many Afghanis working with U.S. soldiers also indulge in this 'boy play', which by American standards is pedophilic---a great crime.
Hence the US soldiers face a difficult situation. "The reason we weren't able to step in with these local rape cases was we didn't want to undermine the authority of the local government," Quinn said.
The US soldiers in the country have been asked not to interfere when they witness sexual child abuse in that country. So the Pentagon denies that they have indulged in these kinds of interventions, CNN reported.
Yet, Pentagon cannot 'ignore' them either.
"We have never had a policy in place that directs any military member, or any government personnel overseas to ignore human rights abuses," Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said. "It's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter." So the policy of U.S. army persons ignoring it is also denied.
It is indeed a Catch-22 situation, and most of what the US army personnel say is ambivalent and not always clear.
"I personally have served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and am absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here, and certainly, no such policy has existed throughout my tenure as commander," Army Gen. John Campbell said, according to Military Times.
Yet, "the army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way," said U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, who is trying to intervene with Pentagon to save Martland's career.
Hunter is asking Defense Secretary Ash Carter to review the case.