Congressmen Vern Buchanan, Duncan Hunter Introduce Resolution Calling for Reinstatement of Soldier Who Blew Whistle on Afghan Child Rape

Jackson Falconer
WASHINGTON — Following a New York Times report that U.S. soldiers were advised not to intervene in the sexual abuse of children by allied Afghan commanders, a newly introduced House resolution demands that one of the soldiers who blew the whistle on the alleged policy not be discharged.

The resolution, which was introduced Wednesday by local Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) and California Rep Duncan Hunter (R), calls for the reinstatement of Sgt. First Class Charles Martland. The Sargeant told the Times that, after helping beat up an Afghan commander for holding captive a boy as sex slave, the Army had been trying to force him into retirement.

Martland is now set by the Army to retire on November 1.

Capt. Dan Quinn, who also helped beat the Afghan commander, was relieved of his command following the incident. After reporting another abuse incident to their superiors, the men said they were told that nothing could be done other than bringing up the matter with local Afghan officials.

If passed, the resolution would be a message expressing the will of the House as it is non-binding.

In a statement, Buchanan said, “Driving Sgt. Martland out of the Army for standing up for American values is a national disgrace. Now is the time for the U.S. House to demand Sgt. Martland be reinstated for his honorable actions in defense of innocent children.”

In a letter sent last week to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Buchanan urged the General “to immediately reverse the Pentagon’s shameful policy of punishing soldiers who try to stop the sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan, as reported ... by the New York Times.”
 
The Associated Press reported last week that Gen. John Campbell, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, has denied that U.S. forces have a policy of ordering their troops to ignore sexual abuse allegations, and that he expects any suspicions of sexual abuse to be “immediately reported to the chain of command, regardless of who the alleged perpetrators or victims are.” Campbell added that any reports of such abuse will be sent to him so that the Afghan government can “be advised and requested to investigate and take action.”
 
Buchanan has also called for an investigation into the matter by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.