US 'ignored sex abuse by Afghan army commanders'
The US military has been accused of encouraging troops to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse committed by local army commanders who it trained in Afghanistan.
Former soldiers claim that they were ordered to ignore the long-established habit of local Afghan commanders for taking young boys as sexual playthings while serving on military bases.
The practice, known as "bacha bazi", literally "boy play", is common in religiously conservative Afghanistan, where extra-marital sex and female prostitution is frowned on.
And the father of one US soldier who was killed in Afghanistan suggested that the teenage boy who shot his son may have blamed him for failing to stop abuse by a local Afghan commander.
The claims have been aired in 'The New York Times', which says that soldiers who objected to the abuse by their Afghan colleagues often found themselves facing disciplinary proceedings.
It is alleged that the US military prioritised the maintaining of good relations with local Afghan commanders.