The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Evacuation raises concerns about child traffickin­g


U.S. officials are looking into reports that in the frantic evacuation of desperate Afghans from Kabul, older men were admitted together with young girls they claimed as “brides” or otherwise sexually abused.

U.S. officials at intake centers in the United Arab Emirates and in Wisconsin have identified numerous incidents in which Afghan girls have been presented to authoritie­s as the “wives” of much older men. While child marriage is not uncommon in Afghanista­n, the U.S. has strict policies against human traffickin­g that include prosecutio­ns for offenders and sanctions for countries that don’t crack down on it.

One internal document seen by The Associated Press says the State Department has sought “urgent guidance” from other agencies after purported child brides were brought to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Another document, described to the AP by officials familiar with it, says Afghan girls at a transit site in Abu Dhabi have alleged they have been raped by older men they were forced to marry in order to escape Afghanista­n.

The State Department had no immediate comment on the documents or the veracity of the details in them.

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