Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, a decorated Green Beret, is being involuntarily separated from the U.S. Army for standing up to an Afghan local police (ALP) commander accused of raping a 12-year-old boy in September 2011 and subsequently beating his mother when she reported the crime.
The alleged rapist, identified as Abdul Rahman, is not facing any criminal charges, Breitbart News learned from the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee who wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter asking him to “intervene immediately” on behalf of 32-year-old Sgt. Martland from Massachusetts.
Martland, who wants to remain in the military, is set to be discharged from the Army no later than Nov. 1, 2015.
Martland and Daniel Quinn, his team leader, confronted the alleged rapist in 2011. Both were relieved from their positions for doing so. Martland has two sons, while Quinn, who now works at Wall Street, has one.
Citing reports of the incident, Fox News notes that Quinn and Martland pushed the alleged rapist to the ground.
“Rahman walked away bruised from getting shoved and thrown to the ground, but otherwise, according to teammates,” mentions Fox News. “But Rahman quickly reported the incident to another Army unit in a nearby village. The next day a U.S. Army helicopter landed and took Quinn and Martland away, ending their work in Kunduz Province.”
In an attachment to Rep. Hunter’s letter, Sgt. Martland admitted “striking” the Afghan commander for “kidnapping and brutally raping a young local boy and beating the boy’s mother after she came to our camp to plea for help.”
“We already had two other ALP commanders receive no punishment from the Afghan government for the rape of a 15-year-old girl and the honor killing of a commander’s 12-year-old daughter for kissing a boy,” continued Martland. “My Detachment Commander and I felt that morally we could no longer stand by and allow our ALP to commit atrocities.”
Sexual abuse of teenage boys, known in Afghanistan as “Bacha Bazi,” is common among certain segments of Afghan society, according to a recent report from the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan.
Fox News reports that the accused rapist was trained, armed, and paid with U.S. taxpayer funds.
The Afghan commander laughed when Martland and Quinn approached him.
“When the man laughed off the incident, they physically confronted him,” notes Fox News.
“They were punished by the Army at the time — but why exactly Martland is now being discharged is a matter of dispute,” it adds. “Army sources cited his accolades, including being named runner-up for 2014 Special Warfare Training Group Instructor of the Year from a pool of 400 senior leaders in Special Forces, in questioning the decision.”
In the letter to Secretary Carter, Rep. Hunter accused the Army’s leadership of employing “meritless retaliatory action” against Sgt. Martland.
Sgt. Martland “stood up to a child rapist and it’s ridiculous that he’s being pushed out of the Army because of it,” Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Rep. Hunter, told Breitbart News. “Even if the Army wants to make the point that budget cuts are forcing them to cut end strength, and any blemish on a personnel record could be cause for removal, it makes no sense whatsoever to relieve soldiers like Martland who want to continue serving and considered to be among the best.”
“This is sadly another example of the military in the past few years retaliating against a good soldier who was acting in what he thought was his best judgment, at the time, on the ground,” added Dan Caldwell, the legislative director for Concerned Veterans for America. “There is a pattern here of soldiers and Marines in combat in Afghanistan who have had to operate under the most ridiculous and restrictive rules of engagement being punished for doing what they think is best in a difficult situation.”
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since the incident, Sgt. Martland has acknowledged he was wrong to strike the Afghan commander.