Unbelievable: Green Beret discharged for shoving Afghan child rapist
“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it,” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland said, in his first public statement on his case.
The detailed written statement, requested by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was shared by the congressman’s office with FoxNews.com. Hunter, who has advocated on Martland’s behalf, intends to submit the statement to the House Armed Services Committee.
Martland’s case has received renewed attention amid recent press reports on the U.S. military’s handling of child abuse allegations involving Afghan allies. In his statement, Martland gives a blunt account of the September 2011 encounter with the “brutal child rapist,” local police commander Abdul Rahman. He acknowledges the confrontation, but suggests the commander exaggerated his injuries — and argues that the boy’s safety, as well as American lives, was at stake that day.
Martland said the Afghan Local Police had been “committing atrocities,” raising concerns that many locals viewed as “worse than the Taliban” — and if locals returned to the Taliban, attacks against U.S. forces would increase.
“While I understand that a military lawyer can say that I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act,” he said.
His team leader Capt. Daniel Quinn also submitted a separate statement; together, the accounts provide new — and graphic — details on what they say happened that day in September 2011.
According to Quinn, an interpreter first came to them saying a boy claimed he was “tied to a post in Rahman’s house and was raped repeatedly for 10 days to 2 weeks.” When his mother tried to stop it, he said, “Rahman instructed his brother to beat her; which he did.”
‘Kicking me out of the army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it.’
– Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland
Martland said he and Quinn then confronted the commander after Quinn confirmed the allegations with village elders and others. He said Quinn got a “first-hand confession” but “the child rapist laughed it off and referenced that it was only a boy.”
That’s when the confrontation turned physical.
“Captain Quinn picked him up and threw him,” Martland said. “I [proceeded to] body slam him multiple times.”
Martland continued: “I kicked him once in his ribcage after one of the body slams. I put my foot on his neck and yelled at him after one body slam, but did not kick or punch him in the face. I continued to body slam him and throw him for 50 meters until he was outside the camp.”
Quinn said, “I physically threw him through our front gate and off our camp.”
Martland, though, disputed allegations the confrontation was more severe.
“He was never knocked out, and he ran away from our camp. It did not last longer than 5 minutes. The child rapist’s allegations against us are ridiculous,” he said.
Because of their intervention, the Army had Quinn and Martland removed from the camp in Kunduz Province and eventually sent home from Afghanistan. Quinn has since left the Army, but Martland still is fighting an order to have him discharged by Nov. 1. The U.S. Army Human Resources Command recently denied his appeal.
Though Hunter and others have stepped to Martland’s defense, others have defended the Army’s actions, including Col. Steve Johnson — a U.S. commander in Afghanistan at the time.
In an online discussion on LinkedIn that started about a month ago, an individual claiming to be Johnson wrote that Martland and Quinn “consciously and deliberately confronted” the police leader and “absolutely beat the crap out of him.”
“The entire operational Chain of Command supported the relief for cause and reprimand,” he wrote. “Vigilantism is illegal in the United States and should not be condoned elsewhere.”
He wrote: “We should do our best to ensure that the accused is brought to justice legally and fairly — we should never take the law into our own hands (as Martland and Quinn did).”
Images of the discussion were provided to FoxNews.com by Hunter’s office, which said those involved confirmed the posts came from Johnson.
Others on the thread jumped to Martland and Quinn’s defense. One individual said, at “face value,” their actions sound “exactly like what is expected of a Green Beret.”
Another called the legal system in Afghanistan a “joke.”
Johnson previously was quoted in Washington state’s News Tribune defending the Army’s response. According to that article, Johnson commanded Martland before the 2011 deployment. According to a LinkedIn page under his name, Johnson was a commander for the Special Operations Task Force — West, in Herat, at the time of the incident.
In their statements, Quinn and Martland both mentioned Johnson, with Quinn saying Johnson told them after the incident they’d been recommended “to have our tabs removed, sent home, and kicked out of the regiment (and potentially the Army). He never came to our camp or spoke to anyone in our village.”
Johnson did not respond to a request for comment from FoxNews.com.
Military leaders have defended the response to abuse allegations and said soldiers weren’t instructed to look the other way. Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement last Tuesday that he is “absolutely confident that no such theater policy has ever existed here, and certainly, no such policy has existed throughout my tenure as commander.”