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Pentagon aids Afghan units accused of rights abuses

Pentagon aids Afghan units accused of rights abuses

Jan 24, 2018 - 08:58

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Pentagon has been accused of funding, training and equipping units of the Afghan security forces that are involved in gross human rights violations, including child sex abuse.

Under the Pentagon’s version of the so-called Leahy law, assistance to units accused of human rights violations is generally withheld, US media outlets say.

A new report from Pentagon's independent watchdog said the US military reported accusations of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan military on 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistaninfo-icon’s Reconstructioninfo-icon (SIGAR) suggested child sexual abuse was prevalent in the Afghan military and police.

It said the American military commonly looked the other way at the widespread practice of pedophilia. “Although DoD has taken steps to investigate child sexual assault incidents, the full extent of these incidences may never be known.”

At the request of Congress, SIGAR opened an investigation into the bacha bazi practice. “DoD and State began efforts to address this issue after it was raised by The New York Times.”

John F. Sopko, the special inspector general, said: “And even after that story, the sufficiency of policies they’ve put in place and the resources they’ve committed seem questionable.

“When Congress passed the Leahy laws they prioritized the issue of gross human rights violations. As our report clearly shows, both agencies failed to live up to that task.”

As of Aug. 12, 2016, the DoD was probing 75 incidents of gross human rights violations, seven involving child sexual assault. But officials acknowledged that was a small portion of the total.

“DOD’s continuing to provide assistance to units for which the department has credible information of a gross violation of human rights undermines efforts by US government officials to engage with the Afghan government on the importance of respect for human rights and rule of law.”

However, the report explained no evidence had been found that American soldiers were ordered to ignore a matter of policy, or that their commanders condoned the practice.

It shows the challenges the US military faces in partnering with forces abroad that do not always adhere to the same codes of conduct. US troops have long complained that some Afghan commanders sexually abuse boys.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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