In Wake Of Afghanistan Sexual Abuse Scandal, A Soldier's Career Hangs In The Balance


Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, who served as a Green Beret for 11 years, was ordered to be discharged, and many believe this order is tied to an incident from 2011, in which Martland confronted an alleged child rapist in Afghanistan who was also a member of local law enforcement.

On Sept. 14, the U.S. Army denied his appeal to be reinstated, meaning Martland will be officially discharged by Nov. 1. 

The U.S. Army Human Resources Command told Martland his case “does not meet the criteria” for an appeal, according to a memo shared with Fox News from the office of Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.

The trouble started when Martland and former U.S. Army Capt. Dan Quinn confronted an Afghan police commander in 2011 who had allegedly raped a boy and beat the boy's mother. When the commander laughed off the incident, Martland and Quinn shoved him to the ground.

"I picked him up, threw him to the ground multiple times, and Charles did the same thing,” Quinn told CNN. "We basically had to make sure that he fully understood that if he ever went near that boy or his mother again, there was going to be hell to pay.”

Soon after, Quinn and Martland were relieved of their duties, and Martland was reprimanded for his behavior, according to Fox News. Quinn voluntarily left the military, but Martland has been unwilling to resign. Due to budget cuts this year, Martland was ordered to be discharged; however, many believe this discharge is linked to the mark on Martland's record as a result of the incident in Afghanistan.

The incident is indicative of a greater problem, reports The New York Times. According to a report, the practice of Afghan commanders sexually abusing young boys is not uncommon and is referred to as "bacha bazi," which means “boy play.” Some allege that higher ups in the U.S. military were aware of the practice but ordered soldiers not to intervene.

“My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture,” Gregory Buckley Sr. told The New York Times.

His son, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr., was shot to death on base in 2012 by a “tea boy,” a domestic servant sometimes forced into sexual slavery.

Rep. Hunter believes the Army is in the wrong for attempting to forcibly retire Martland.

“The Army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way (a contention that I believe is nonsense),” he wrote to the Pentagon’s inspector general, according to The New York Times. 

The Army has not commented on Martland’s case.

Quinn was stunned by the alleged practice of sexual abuse.

“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” he told The New York Times. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”

Still, Quinn is hopeful for his colleague’s future, even though time seems to be running out on Martland’s military career.

"He is the best soldier I've ever served with," Quinn told CNN. "He's the reason why I joined the Special Forces regiment, was to work with soldiers like Charles Martland ... All he wants to do is continue to serve our country with distinction."

Sources: The New York Times, CNN, Fox News / Photo credit: DVIDSHUB/Flickr,


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