For years, American troops believed there wasn’t much they could do about child abuse in Afghanistan because it was a “culturally accepted practice.” U.S. troops weren’t trained until 2015 that harmful acts against children were in violation of both Afghan law and human rights.
Soldiers weren’t explicitly told not to report cases of child sex abuse, but it was hush subject until the media began reporting that members of the military were encouraged to ignore the heinous practice, according to a Pentagon report.
Troops that were interviewed insinuated that military superiors did not care about pedophilia in the Middle East nation.
“In some cases, the interviewees explained that they, or someone whom they knew, were told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it,” the report read.
One of the troops who was interviewed for the report said that when he reported an Afghan abusing young male kids he was told that “It was out of our control,” “There’s nothing we can do about it” and “It’s their country.”
Another said that “soldiers [were] told to ignore it and drive on.”
Marines were told that they “need to understand the culture, accept it without making judgments, and figure out how to work with it or around it to accomplish your mission.”
Training for sailors said that, while pedophilia was an issue Afghanistan, they should “control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments.”
The report by the inspector general essentially said that the military only cared about the issue when the media started covering it.
“We determined that the DoD did not conduct training for personnel on identifying, responding to, or reporting instances of child sexual abuse involving ANDSF personnel before 2015,” the report read.
The first guidance to report child sex abuse didn’t come until September 2015, following a New York Times report, according to the Daily Caller. Soldiers reported to the Times that they were told to ignore child sex abuse, despite hearing screams of boys being abused by Afghan officials.
Sexual abuse of children was not specifically declared a human rights violation until 2016.
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