The New York Times’ devastating expose revealing the U.S. military wants its soldiers to ignore the pedophilia of its allied military commanders demands a response to a pretty simple question: why?
Instead of weeding out pedophiles, the U.S. military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages, the Times reports. It’s not exactly a recipe for winning the hearts and minds of the citizenry.
“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,” said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up a U.S.-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “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.”
The U.S. military commanders, while cool with putting up with the abuse of boys, isn’t about to accept its soldiers disobeying orders to let it happen. Quinn beat up an Afghan commander and now the Army is trying to forcibly retire another soldier who helped him. Both are both Green Berets.
First, one of the militia commanders raped a 14- or 15-year-old girl whom he had spotted working in the fields. Quinn informed the provincial police chief, who soon levied punishment. “He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him,” Quinn said.
In September 2011, an Afghan woman, visibly bruised, showed up at a U.S. base with her son, who was limping. One of the Afghan police commanders in the area, Abdul Rahman, had abducted the boy and forced him to become a sex slave, chained to his bed, the woman explained. When she sought her son’s return, she herself was beaten. Her son had eventually been released, but she was afraid it would happen again she told the Americans on the base.
She explained that because “her son was such a good-looking kid, he was a status symbol” local commanders coveted, recalled Quinn, who did not speak to the woman directly but was told about her visit when he returned to the base from a mission later that day.
So Quinn summoned Abdul Rahman and confronted him about what he had done. The police commander acknowledged that it was true, but brushed it off. When the U.S. officer began to lecture about “how you are held to a higher standard if you are working with U.S. forces, and people expect more of you,” the commander began to laugh.
“I picked him up and threw him onto the ground,” Quinn said. Martland joined in, he said. “I did this to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to the boy, that it was not going to be tolerated,” Quinn recalled.
Military officials say the practice is a “cultural issue.”
Related: The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan (PBS Frontline)