The Attorney General’s Office (AGO), says a team led by a senior member of the office has started investigating the sexual abuse allegations in Logar province.
In mid-November research by Logar’s civil society, amplified by a report by the UK’s The Guardian as well as other news agencies, brought public attention to “hundreds” of sexually abused children and youth in six provincial schools where the study was done.
The report has faced mixed reactions publicly and among Afghan officials.
The two activists who made the report public, Musa Mahmoudi and Ehsanullah Hamidi, were detained by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which apparently forced the two men to make confessions about exaggerating the report claims. The NDS’ handling of the activists has sparked criticism from international organizations and foreign embassies in Kabul. These same organizations and embassies also called for the protection of the children who had alleged the abuse, and for further investigations.
Although the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Education have both initiated investigations, this new probe by the Attorney General is new.
“Efforts will be made to continue our probe with an aim to bring justice,” said Jamshid Rasuli, the spokesman for the Attorney General.
Recently reports emerged that head of the Logar Education Directorate had been fired following the Logar reports, but the Education Ministry said the official has transferred to another institution.
A spokesman for the Education Ministry, Nooria Nazhat, said another delegation comprised of members of the Human Rights Commission and other institutions will be formed to clarify the claims.
“The head of Logar’s education directorate has started work in another place; therefore, he is not working with the education ministry. Another person has been appointed instead of him in Logar,” Nazhat said.
According to the Independent Human Rights Commission, the two Logar activists have been taken to a safe place.
“Afghanistan’s laws will be under question if this issue is not assessed. If they are questioned, the laws will not be respected,” said Khalid Noor, a lawyer.
This comes as the “Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC)” in a statement on Tuesday stated “extreme concern” with reports of sexual abuse in Logar and the detention of human rights activists by the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The CAAC report was tweeted about by John Bass, the US ambassador to Afghanistan.
The group called for a “prompt, independent and impartial” investigation into the case by the Afghan Attorney General’s Office, the AGO.