A US government watchdog has filed a secret report to Congress into allegations of child sex abuse by the Afghan security forces ─ and the extent to which America holds them accountable.
According to the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), which on Tuesday announced it had sent the classified findings to lawmakers, Afghan officials are failing to stop sexual exploitation.
Primarily at issue is the entrenched custom of what is known in Afghanistan as “bacha bazi” ─ or the sexual abuse of boys ─ and whether the US is turning a blind eye.
“Afghan officials remain complicit, especially in the sexual exploitation and recruitment of children by Afghan security forces,” Sigar said in a quarterly publication that described the outline of the Congressional report.
It states that the Afghan government has failed to identify or help victims. In some cases, the Afghan government arrested and prosecuted trafficking victims as criminals.
“Victim-protection efforts remained inadequate, as all but one government-run shelter for trafficking victims remained closed during the reporting period,” Sigar said.
Neither the Pentagon nor the Afghan government immediately responded to requests for comment.
Under US rules called the Leahy Laws, the Pentagon and the State Department are barred from providing assistance to any unit of a foreign nation's security forces if credible information exists that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.
Nato forces headed by the US provide training, equipment and other assistance across the Afghan security forces.