Politics

Rep. Hunter To SecDef Carter: How Are You Stopping Abused Children From Conducting Insider Attacks In Afghanistan?

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter Monday to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter imploring him to get to the bottom of insider attacks committed by child sex abuse victims in Afghanistan because of the risk they pose to U.S. forces.

The Taliban has recently taken advantage of child sex slaves to commit insider attacks against the Afghan military and police, and the attacks are so devastating, that one report notes hundreds of Afghans have died as a result, just from January to April. Many of these attacks involve boys offering themselves up to corrupt police officers and then drugging and poisoning these same officers. Insider attacks put U.S. servicemembers at serious risk.

“This is concerning given our interests in Afghanistan, but it also requires serious attention due to the presence of U.S. forces and their ongoing mission to train, assist and advise the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” Hunter said in a letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“While I recognize that separate reviews into this matter are ongoing, I remain concerned with new reports that the Taliban is increasing its use of these children to access security positions and mount insider attacks against Afghan military and police forces,” Hunter added. “This also poses a direct threat to U.S. service personnel.”

Hunter believes that child rape in Afghanistan needs to be stopped post-haste, and the first step is to make sure that this kind of child abuse, known locally as Bacha bazi, does not take place in front of U.S. forces, which may help reduce the risk of insider attacks. Carter shouldn’t wait for recommendations to come out from inspector general reviews to act, Hunter argued.

The first step Carter can take is to implement a zero-tolerance policy and ensure protection for servicemembers who report such horrific activity and to even allow them to intervene as necessary.

In the past, U.S. intervention has been met with severe crackdown from military officials. Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland was nearly chased out of the Army for beating down an Afghan police commander who tied a young boy to a bed post and raped him for days before also assaulting the boy’s mother. Instead of lauding Martland for defending the tragically abused boy, the Army tried its level best to drum Martland out of the military. After much advocacy from members of Congress, including Hunter, the Army reversed its decision in late April and allowed the Green Beret to remain in the service.

The Taliban has denied using underage boys in attacks, saying that while they do conduct insider operations, those operations are committed by men with beards.

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