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Top general in Afghanistan pushes back on sexual abuse policy reports

Gen. John Campbell, commander of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, salutes at a ceremony in Kabul on Dec. 28, 2014. Campbell on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, said in a statement that he is 'absolutely confident' that no policy exists in Afghanistan requiring U.S. troops to ignore suspicions of sexual abuse committed by their Afghan allies against children.

HEATH DRUZIN/STARS AND STRIPES

By THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF | The Washington Post | Published: September 22, 2015

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan pushed back against recent media reports that U.S. troops were told to ignore suspicions of sexual abuse committed against children by their Afghan allies in past years.

"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 wrote in a strongly worded statement released Tuesday.

Campbell was responding to a New York Times article chronicling the story of a number of Marines and soldiers who witnessed Afghan soldiers sexually abusing children. Some service members were told to ignore it, while one was kicked out of Afghanistan for intervening.

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, according to the Times article.

Even before the recent reports, however, rampant sexual abuse at the hands of Afghan security forces had been reported extensively in Ben John Anderson's VICE documentary, "This is What Winning Looks Like." The documentary follows a group of Marines training Afghan security forces in Helmand province in 2012 and chronicles their frustration with their Afghan counterparts' rampant drug use, corruption and a host of other issues frequently encountered by coalition forces.
 

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