DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN (Newspaper)
Witnessing two men, one armed with a knife, sodomize the child during an incident in late 2006 helped drive the 26-year-old [former soldier, Travis Schouten] to the brink of mental collapse.
But the former corporal said the assault is just the tip of an iceberg and underneath lies the systemic sexual abuse of boys at the hands of Afghanistan’s POLICE and ARMY. It’s something he said the Canadian Forces has turned a blind eye to.
“It’s disgusting,” said Schouten, now retired after eight years in the military. “We’re telling people that we’re trying to build a nation there and we let this happen?”
“We allow rampant abuse of young boys at the hands of what is supposed to be their finest police officers and army officers, then what does that say?”
Schouten’s allegations that Afghans were sexually abusing children at a Canadian base near Kandahar made headlines in 2008, but earlier this year military investigators dismissed the claims as unfounded.
Updated December, 2016 –
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He is, however, not alone in voicing his concerns. Defence Department records show military police were upset about such incidents but were told not to interfere. Army officers also met in 2007 to discuss the issue of Afghan security personnel “having anal sex with young boys” but their main concern was the media would somehow find out.
Others in the military note they were told such practices were an “age-old part of Afghan culture“. One soldier who e-mailed Canwest News Service stated he served at the same base at another time and troops had orders to stop any rapes. But he also noted they were told the practise of “Man Love Thursdays,” as it was called, involved consenting Afghans and no one was raped by older men. The children involved were given small gifts or money in return for sex, soldiers said.
Schouten, however, questions whether a five or six-year old child, or even an 11-year-old, can consent. “The Canadian Forces wants people to think it’s a cultural thing, that everyone is doing it, because it takes the onus of responsibility off them to stop it,” he said.
The United Nations has also questioned arguments that sex with children is a cultural issue. In July 2008, a UN special representative spoke out against the Afghan practise. “What I found was nobody talks about it; everyone says, ‘Well, you know, it’s been there for 1,000 years, so why do we want to raise this now?’ ” said Radhika Coomaraswamy. “But somebody has to raise it and it has to be dealt with.”
And not all Afghans are so accepting of what some claim is tradition. Afghan villagers this summer complained to British troops in Helmand province that Afghan police were abducting children to be used for sex. -Continue HERE