Call for crackdown on Afghan child sex slavery
US lawmakers are pressing Washington to get tough on institutionalised sexual slavery of boys by Afghan forces, with some invoking a human rights law that prohibits American aid to foreign military units committing such violations.
The call follows an AFP report in June which revealed the Taliban are exploiting the entrenched practice of paedophilic bacha bazi – literally “boy play” – in the Afghan police to mount deadly insider attacks in the country’s volatile south.
The revelation prompted Congressman Duncan Hunter to demand US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter take “immediate steps to stop child rape” amid an American military presence in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense replied to Mr Hunter last week, stating in a letter seen by AFP that it was committed to holding perpetrators accountable.
Many had expressed shock over media reports suggesting the US military had disciplined American personnel who tried to intervene to stop bacha bazi abuse, and urged SIGAR to focus on the implementation of the so-called Leahy Law.
The 1997 law, named after Senator Patrick Leahy, prohibits US assistance to allied foreign military and police units against whom credible evidence of grave human violations exists.
The fresh call to apply the law comes ahead of a crucial donor conference on Afghanistan in Brussels in October. The country remains heavily dependent on international financial and military assistance.
The ancient custom of bacha bazi, seen as a culturally sanctioned form of male rape, remains widespread in Afghanistan. – PRESIDENT Maithripala Sirisena has pleaded for more time to bring about reconciliation and ensure accountability seven years after Sri Lanka’s ethnic war that claimed 100,000 lives.
Mr Sirisena said he urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon during talks last week to be patient with his administration which came to power in January last year on a promise of peace and ethnic unity.
“I told him not to be in a hurry. Be patient – give me some more time to rebuild my country,” he said.
Speaking at the 65th anniversary celebrations of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the northwestern town of Kurunegala, Mr Sirisena said he has managed to end the country’s international pariah status since coming to power in January last year.
Sri Lanka had faced international censure after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse insisted that not a single civilian was killed by troops under his command.
Mr Rajapakse also refused to investigate allegations that up to 40,000 minority Tamil civilians perished in the final stages of the war in 2009. More than 100,000 people were killed in the conflict between 1972 and 2009.
Earlier this year, Mr Sirisena pledged to provide state land to those affected by the war and unable to go back to their own homes which were either destroyed in the war or are still occupied by the military. –