Defense Dept. Looks at Afghan Child Rape

The Defense Department inspector general will begin researching allegations of sexual abuse against children by Afghan military and security officials, as well as the United States' response to the abuse, the watchdog agency announced Tuesday. The IG will look at whether the military has, or had, "any guidance, informal or otherwise, to discourage reporting" on cases of child sex abuse.

Child rape is widespread in Afghanistan.

But the issue took on new urgency in the wake of the military's decision to punish some service members who confronted Afghan officials who were known to be abusing children. As The Daily Beast reported, Marines deploying to Afghanistan have been trained that child rape is a "cultural" issue, and are offered practically no guidance on what to do if they witness acts that would be criminally prosecuted in the United States.

—Shane Harris