Sergeant 1st Class Charles Martland, the Green Beret being separated involuntarily from the U.S. Army for kicking and body slamming an Afghan police commander he describes as a “brutal child rapist,” has begun to tell his side of the story.
Despite being under a gag order imposed by the Pentagon, Martland honored a request by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. and issued a written statement detailing his actions on Sept. 6, 2011. Hunter, who has advocated on Martland’s behalf, intends to submit the statement to the House Armed Services Committee.
Last week, the Army rejected his appeal.
“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong, and the entire country knows it,” Martland writes.
Martland and former Captain Daniel Quinn were both disciplined by the Army after they beat a powerful local police official who they determined had been raping a small boy. They say they had been told by higher-ups that there was nothing the US military could do about such horrific acts, described as Afghan problems for the Afghan authorities to work out.
But the Afghan authorities wouldn’t do anything about it, the two soldiers say.
“Our ALP (Afghan Local Police) were committing atrocities and we were quickly losing the support of the local populace,” Martland writes in his statement. “The severity of the rapes and the lack of action by the Afghan Government caused many of the locals to view our ALP as worse than the Taliban.”
Quinn and Martland learned from a young Afghan boy and his mother, through an Afghan interpreter, that the boy had been tied to a post at the home of Afghan local police commander Abdul Rahman and raped repeatedly for up to two weeks. When his mother tried to intervene, they told the soldiers, Rahman’s brother beat her. Quinn says he verified the story with other ALP commanders from neighboring villages. Then they invited Rahman to the camp.
“After the child rapist laughed it off and referenced that it was only a boy, Captain Quinn picked him up and threw him,” Martland writes. Martland then proceeded to “body slam him multiple times,” kick him in the rib cage, and put his foot on his neck. “I continued to body slam him and throw him for fifty meters until he was outside the camp,” he writes.
“He was never knocked out, and he ran away from our camp.” The incident lasted no more than five minutes, he says.
“We basically had to make sure that he fully understood that if he ever went near that boy or his mother again, there was going to be hell to pay. While I understand that a military lawyer can say that I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act.”
Quinn says that they took action because otherwise nothing would be done by the Army or local authorities. “The reason we weren’t able to step in with these local rape cases was we didn’t want to undermine the authority of the local government,” he said. “We were trying to build up the local government. Us acting after the local government fails to can certainly undermine their credibility.”
The Pentagon denies that telling soldiers to look the other way is official practice.
“We have never had a policy in place that directs any military member, or any government personnel overseas to ignore human rights abuses,” Defense spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said. “Any sexual abuse, no matter who the alleged perpetrator and no matter who the victim, is completely unacceptable and reprehensible.”