In the scramble to evacuate Americans and at-risk Afghans who worked with the now-deposed, U.S.-backed regime following the Taliban takeover last month, there is a chance that some men managed to find their way into refugee camps with child “brides” who have alleged sexual abuse to concerned U.S. officials.
The Associated Press reported last week that according to State Department documents they obtained, officials at a humanitarian camp in Abu Dhabi as well as a Wisconsin Army base issued urgent requests for guidance as to what to do about the alleged incidents of child brides.
Officials at intake centers at Humanitarian City in the United Arab Emirates capital as well as Fort McCoy in Wisconsin have identified what they believe to be “numerous” instances of young girls who were presented as “wives” to older Afghan men whom they were forced to marry to escape the crumbling nation.
The State Department, according to one document, issued “urgent guidance” from the military and other agencies upon discovering what they believed to be child brides at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, while another document reportedly revealed that girls alleged rape at the hands of their adult “husbands” in Abu Dhabi.
“The State Department had no immediate comment on the documents or the veracity of the details in them. Officials say that they take all such allegations seriously but that many of them are anecdotal and difficult to prove, particularly amid the crush of Afghan evacuees at multiple locations in the Middle East, Europe and the United States,” the AP reported.
“Intake staff at Fort McCoy reported multiple cases of minor females who presented as ‘married’ to adult Afghan men, as well as polygamous families,” one document reportedly stated. “Department of State has requested urgent guidance.”
The AP reported that there was no “immediate indication” from the military or the departments of homeland security and health and human services, which oversee the facility, that the guidance had been received nor, presumably, responded to.
Sadly, while child marriage is not uncommon in Afghan culture, it is unclear what could be done in these cases, the AP noted, as the allegations are anecdotal and difficult to prove.
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