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American Soldiers Reprimanded For Preventing Sexual Abuse Of Afghan Boys

U.S. Army Spc. Daishon Newton talks with a group of boys in Afghanistan. (Via the [Department of Defense](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_News_Photo_110416-F-BP133-152_-_U.S._Army_Spc._Daishon_Newton_talks_with_a_group_of_boys_at_the_Sheik_Mati_Boys_School_in_Qalat_Afghanistan_during_a_dismounted_mission_to_assess.jpg)).

U.S. Army Spc. Daishon Newton talks with a group of boys in Afghanistan. (Via the Department of Defense).

According to a disturbing new report from The New York Times, American military personnel in Afghanistan have been ordered to ignore claims of child sex abuse made against Afghan allies even when such abuse takes place at American military bases. The report also claims that in some cases, soldiers and marines have been punished for intervening on behalf of victimized children.

For example, former Special Forces captain Dan Quinn was relieved of his command after he and another soldier beat an American-backed militia commander when it was discovered he’d been keeping a young boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.

“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” Quinn told the NYT. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”

In all fairness to American commanders behind the decision, child sexual abuse has long been common in Afghan society, especially among warlords and militia members. According to NYT writer Craig S. Smith, it was common for ethnic Pashtuns fighting in Britain’s 19th-century colonial army to sing “odes talking of their longing for young boys.”

Ironically, it was the Taliban who eventually tried (and failed) to eradicate pedophilia from Afghan culture via the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. And if the Taliban was unable to end the practice using its draconian methods, what chance does a Western occupation army realistically have?

As one former Marine told the NYT, “The bigger picture was fighting the Taliban. It wasn’t to stop molestation.”

That said, the U.S. is quick to condemn the human rights abuses of enemies such as ISIS and the Taliban (and rightfully so), but clearly we need to pay more attention to the actions of our own allies. And while we’re certainly not going to change the cultural norms of Afghanistan, it doesn’t make sense to punish soldiers who are trying to make a difference when they are able.

Read the entire article at The New York Times.

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