Didn’t tell troops to ignore sexual abuse: Pentagon

Washington, Sep 22 (IANS) The Pentagon has denied that there was any policy directing US service members to ignore abuse of teenager boys by their Afghan allies, but insisted the issue should be handled by Afghanistan’s law enforcement departments.

“We have never had a policy in place that directs any military member or any government personnel overseas to ignore human rights abuse,” Xinhua news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis as saying.

The New York Times reported that the US service members were told not to intervene in Afghanistan police officers and military commanders’ sexual abuse of boys, even when the abuse occurred on military bases.

Davis said it was “fundamentally” a local law enforcement issue.

While reports of the Pentagon’s indulgent attitude toward the practice of “bacha bazi”, or “boy play” in Afghanistan surfaced in the past, the New York Times revealed that when some US service members intervened, they were punished by the Pentagon for doing so.

According to the report, former US Army Special Forces Captain Dan Quinn faced disciplinary action after he beat up an Afghan commander who had chained a boy as sex slave.

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