“A senior Pentagon official admitted to the Washington Free Beacon late Monday that Afghan forces allied with U.S. troops in the war-torn country have been caught sexually abusing children.
“The admission comes on the heels of reports that the Obama administration has been punishing U.S. soldiers who blew the whistle on this sexual abuse.
“U.S. lawmakers early Monday expressed shock and outrage over the report and called on Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, to immediately address a policy of ordering U.S. troops to ignore such sexual abuse.
“When asked about the practice, a Pentagon official admitted that such abuse was taking place but denied that there is an official policy that instructs U.S. troops to ignore it.
“This is an abhorrent practice, and we are deeply concerned about it,” the official told the Free Beacon. “This form of sexual exploitation of children is a violation of Afghanistan’s laws and international obligations.
“There is no policy in place that directs any U.S. military or government personnel overseas to ignore human rights abuses,” the official said. “On the contrary, we monitor such atrocities closely and have continually stood up for those who have suffered exploitation and denial of basic human freedoms.”
“The official did not explicitly deny that U.S. troops who reported abuses had been punished.”