Two British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan were arrested on charges of sexually abusing two Afghan children as young as ten years old and filming the abuse.
The films, which were showed off to comrades, reportedly depict the two soldiers as they encouraged a young Afghan boy and girl to touch them through their clothing. The British army would not release information on the names of the soldiers or their unit, but the Ministry of Defense said it took such claims “seriously” and the Royal Military Police said they were investigating.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said: “The government of Afghanistan is immensely disgusted by the rise in recent incidents of immoral nature among foreign soldiers that clearly undermine public confidence and the Afghan people’s cooperation with foreign troops.”
The arrests have been made less than a week after an internet video surfaced of U.S. Marines urinating on dead Afghan bodies, an incident which the U.S. authorities also claimed it to be investigating. Local Afghans were quoted as saying “such things happen all the time, and people talk about it but media hardly report them.”
The public outrage in the West is of course negligible compared to what it would be if Taliban fighters were recorded pissing on the corpses of U.S. Marines or sexually assaulting American or British children. Nevertheless, the current counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan is supposedly about “winning hearts and minds.”