US Soldiers Punished for Reporting Sexual Abuse by Afghan Allies
by Andrew Emett
September 23, 2015
While the U.S. military is trying to punish soldiers for reporting rape and physical abuse in Afghanistan, it continues to turn a blind eye to the rampant cruelty. Why do we allow these atrocities to continue?
According to court records and soldiers’ accounts, the U.S. military is allowing Afghan allies to sexually abuse children on U.S. Army and Marine Corps bases in Afghanistan. Although officers have received reports of rape and physical abuse occurring on base, the U.S. military has decided to turn a blind eye to their allies’ heinous crimes while punishing soldiers for reporting the rampant cruelty.
In an effort to fight the Taliban, the U.S. military has been recruiting rural Afghan warlords with a penchant for molesting children. Referred to as bacha bazi, translated as “boy play,” the practice of kidnapping young boys and sexually abusing them is culturally acceptable to many of our psychotic, heroin supplying Afghan allies. But the small villages and families suffering from this abuse are losing faith in the American soldiers and Marines who have been ordered to allow these atrocities to continue.
“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,” Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain, told The New York Times. “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 the summer of 2011, Captain Dan Quinn and Sergeant Charles Martland, both Green Berets on their second tour, began receiving disturbing reports about the Afghan Local Police units that they were training. After discovering an Afghan militia commander had raped a 14-year-old girl, Capt. Quinn reported the incident to the local police chief. Instead of punishing the commander, the police chief ordered the rape victim to marry her assailant.
“He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him,” Quinn recalled. “We’re being praised for doing the right thing, and a guy just got away with raping a 14-year-old girl.”
In early September 2011, an abused Afghan boy and his mother arrived at an American base. Visibly limping with ligature marks on his wrists, the 12-year-old boy was examined by a medic before informing the Green Berets that a local police commander named Abdul Rahman had kidnapped him, chained him to a bed, and sexually abused him. For reporting the incident to the Americans, the boy’s mother was viciously beaten by Rahman.
When Capt. Quinn and Sgt. Martland confronted Rahman about the abuse, the Afghan ally laughed in their faces while admitting to the rape. Quinn recalled, “He confessed to the crime and laughed about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal. Even when we patiently explained how serious the charge was, he kept laughing.”
Instead of turning a blind eye, the two Green Berets allegedly shoved Rahman and slammed him against the ground. After Rahman reported the incident to the U.S. Army, Quinn was relieved of his command and pulled out of Afghanistan. Awarded a Bronze Star with Valor for saving his teammates during a gunfight, Martland was also sent home. The Army has ordered Martland to be involuntarily discharged in November.
“The Army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way (a contention that I believe is nonsense),” Representative Duncan Hunter wrote last week to the Pentagon’s inspector general.
In 2010, Major Jason Brezler and a fellow Marine officer convinced Afghan authorities to arrest a police commander named Sarwar Jan. Charged with corruption, supporting the Taliban, and child abduction, Jan reappeared two years later working on an American camp called Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Helmand Province. Soldiers noticed that the police commander was accompanied by a large group of boys held in sexual slavery.
When Maj. Brezler learned of Jan operating on an American base, he sent an email warning the Marine base commanders of Jan’s criminal activities. Instead of heeding Brezler’s warning, the officers ignored his advice until one of Jan’s older boys stole a rifle killing Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr. and two other Marines two weeks later.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” Gregory Buckley Sr. recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death in 2012. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Instead of commending Maj. Brezler for warning his fellow officers about a potential security risk, the Marine Corps is attempting to discharge the major for disclosing classified information regarding the police commander’s abhorrent sexual proclivities. In contrast, Sarwar Jan has been promoted and continues to operate within the same province as a high-ranking police commander.