Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland is being dismissed from the Army, despite 11 years of exceptional national service, having lost his appeal to remain in service. A New York Times article chronicled how Martland had been told during his time in Afghanistan that he was to ignore the rampant sexual abuse of children, mostly boys, by male Afghans. He was told “it's their culture" in reference to the rapes of children by Afghans, and that U.S. soldiers would be punished for intervening or stopping the practice.  The U.S. military has denied Martland’s claims.
 
Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a September 22 statement that he is “absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here, and certainly, no such policy has existed throughout my tenure as commander.”
 
Even so, Martland has been ordered dismissed from the Army by November 1.  In an initial decision, the U.S. Army Human Resources Command told him that the appeal “does not meet the criteria” for an appeal. “Consequently, your request for an appeal and continued service is disapproved,” the office wrote in a memo.
 
On September 22, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter discussed the appeal denial on The Kelly File. Said Hunter, "Imagine this, you're a 20-year-old kid and you're serving your nation and on your U.S. base you actually see child rapists and pedophiles and hear the scream of little boys at night and you're told it's an Afghan criminal issue." He added, "They were allowing this to happen because they don't want to offend the wrong people. There is a shameful lack leadership and morality in the Army."
 
While deployed to Kunduz Province in 2011, Afghanistan, Martland and his team leader confronted a local police commander accused of raping an Afghan boy and beating his mother. When the Afghan laughed off the incident, they shoved him to the ground. Both Martland and team leader were then removed from the base and sent home. While the U.S. Army has cited privacy as a reason for not confirming the specifics of Martland's separation from service, a “memorandum of reprimand” from appears to indicate that Martland was criticized by superiors for highlighting the alleged rape. 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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