- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan on Tuesday denied media reports that U.S. troops were told not to confront Afghan allies committing acts of sexual abuse against children.

“I personally have served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and am absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here, and certainly, no such policy has existed throughout my tenure as commander,” Gen. John Campbell, the current commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan, wrote in a strongly worded statement.

Gen. Campbell’s statement was in response to a New York Times article which reported Marines and soldiers had witnessed Afghan soldiers sexually abusing children. Some service members were told to ignore the practice, and one was forced out of the country for intervening, according to the report.

The Times reported Capt. Dan Quinn, an Army Special Forces soldier, was relieved of his command and removed from the country after he beat an Afghan militia commander who kept a boy chained to his bed.

The practice is referred to as bacha bazi, meaning “boy play,” according to the article, and American soldiers and Marines were reportedly ordered not to intervene, even when the abuse was taking place on military bases.

Gen. Campbell said he expects all personnel to report any suspicions of sexual abuse, regardless of who that alleged perpetrators or victims are.

“I want to make absolutely clear that any sexual abuse or similar mistreatment of others, no matter the alleged perpetrator or victim, is completely unacceptable, and reprehensible,” Gen. Campbell said. “My expectations also apply to non-U.S. personnel assigned to the Resolute Support mission, consistent with their national policies and regulations.”

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