The father of a U.S. marine killed in Afghanistan claims his son told him about the widespread abuse of children by Afghan troops before he died.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” Gregory Buckley Sr. said his son, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr., told him, reports TheBlaze.
“My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture,” the elder Buckley added.
The younger Gregory was murdered in his bunk the same night he spoke to his father, the Independent reports. His father questions whether the murder had anything to do with him making child abuse allegations.
The practice is referred to among Afghan officers as “bacha bazi,” or “boy play.”
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, who attacked an Afghan police officer in 2011 who allegedly raped a boy, faces involuntary discharge from the army on Nov. 1.
“He confessed to the crime and laughed about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal,” Said Daniel Quinn, another soldier who attacked the Afghan policeman with Martland. “Even when we patiently explained how serious the charge was, he kept laughing. As a man, as a father of a young boy myself at the time, I felt obliged to step in to prevent further repeat occurrence.”
Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, wrote a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter backing Martland and arguing that he was being victimized by a new policy which punished soldiers for infractions even if their battlefield performance was good.
“As I said, because it's taboo, no one will talk to me about it directly, so what we need is the evidence … And the only way to stop bacha bazi is if you prosecute the people who commit the crime, and that's what we need, because the laws are there in the books against this practice,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, who previously worked with the United Nations as special representative for children and armed conflict, said, the Independent reported.
“As far as the young boys are concerned, the Marines are allowing it to happen and so they’re guilty by association. They don’t know our Marines are sick to their stomachs,” the elder Buckley added.