WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Army Human Resources Command (HRC) has recommended that decorated Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland be discharged for striking an Afghan police chief accused of repeatedly raping a boy.
In 2011, Sgt. Martland and Capt. Daniel Quinn were reprimanded after they shoved the Afghan police commander, who also beat the boy’s mother when she complained about her son being sexually abused.
When the two U.S. soldiers confronted him, the Afghan police chief allegedly laughed after admitting to chaining the 12-year-old boy to a bed and sexually abusing him repeatedly.
While Quinn eventually left the Army, Martland has been fighting to continue his career after 11 years in the service, three war deployments, and a Bronze Star for valor in combat.
In a January 27 letter obtained by Breitbart News, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) asked Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) to assist him in keeping the Green Beret in the military by keeping his hold on the Senate confirmation of Eric Fanning for secretary of the Army until the service branch drops its efforts to remove Sgt. Martland.
“I recognize that your hold was initiated on the basis of concerns you have regarding Guantanamo Bay, which are concerns I share,” wrote Hunter. “However, I want to bring second issue to your attention that I hope you will consider,l in the event you can assist and Green Beret war hero who has been sidelined and is now facing an end to his distinguished service career by March 1, 2016.”
Hunter is a war veteran who has pushed back against the Army’s decision to kick out Martland.
In the letter, the California Republican also revealed that HRC “recommended that the Army uphold the judgment that Martland be removed from the service, although a final decision has yet to be made about his future.”
Rep. Hunter wrote:
My own position: I am not offended by, nor do I take any issue with, Martland’s confrontation of the child rapist. Martland was part of a small team of Green Berets, entrusted to keep America safe in ways that often go unreported or unnoticed, whose mission was being put at risk to the illegal action of a corrupt ALP commander.
“The Afghan justice system continually failed to uphold individual human rights, and we would expect any of our elite warriors to protect a child from a known and admitted rapist,” Hunter continued.
Quinn and Martland took matters into their own hands “after two separate but similar human rights violations (including another rape) near the outpost, resulting in no punitive action whatsoever,” explained Hunter.
The two U.S. soldiers dragged and threw the Afghan police chief out of the outpost.
“It is important to note that the ALP commander left on his own, only to deliberately exaggerate his injuries,” pointed out Hunter. “Multiple sources have confirmed this fact, including a linguist and authorities who never interviewed by Army investigators after the incident.”
Martland was eventually removed from the outpost in Afghanistan but was later allowed to re-enlist, at which time his military career did not seem to be in jeopardy.
However, a sequester-driven process for downsizing the Army known as the Qualitative Management Program can result in someone like Sgt. Martland being discharged because of the blemish on his record.
“He later was allowed to reenlist, only to fact a Qualitative Management Program review board in February 2015. The Army argued that the black mark on his record, which states he assaulted ‘a corrupt Afghan commander’ is cause to expel him from duty, despite the fact that he has the full support of his command and immediate leadership,” wrote Hunter.
“In fact, the Department of Defense Inspector General reported to me that, ‘personnel [are] very supportive of the Sergeant and his efforts to remain in the U.S. Army…’ And there continue to be efforts within his command to not ‘inadvertently hamper his efforts.’ This was in response to an alleged gag order put on Martland and his fellow soldiers,” he added.
Bacha bazi (literally, “playing with boys”) is a centuries-old custom in Afghanistan.
The practice “encompasses the ancient Afghan custom of powerful men sexually abusing young boys,” notes the office of the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in a report to Congress. “The Taliban made the practice punishable by death, but bacha bazi has been resurrected since the fall of the Taliban.”
“Under the practice, young boys, also known as ‘chai (tea) boys’ are sold to wealthy and powerful men for entertainment and illicit sex,” it continues. “As women are not allowed to dance in public, boys are made to dance and perform feminine gestures and acts. Boys have been raped, kidnapped, trafficked, and even sold by their parents for family prestige and money.”
Last September, the New York Times (NYT) reported that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan had been ordered to ignore child rape by Afghan soldiers and police officers.
The Pentagon refuted the report.
Led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL), a bipartisan group of lawmakers have “asked SIGAR to conduct an inquiry into the U.S. government’s experience with allegations of sexual abuse of children committed by members of the Afghan security forces,” SIGAR reported.
“The inquiry will also look into the manner in which the Leahy amendment prohibiting [Pentagon] and the State Department from providing assistance to the units of foreign security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights is implemented in Afghanistan,” it added. “SIGAR’s inquiry will complement a review initiated in October by the [Pentagon] Inspector General of the issue of child sex abuse by members of the ANDSF.”