Research by Logar’s civil society over the past six months uncovered hundreds of sex abuse claims from children and youth from the six schools where the study was done.
TOLOnews reporter Sharif Amiry visited Logar on Thursday and talked to abuse victims. He concluded: “The children and youth are not safe at school.”
Responding to an article published by the UK’s Guardian on Wednesday, the Afghan Education Ministry has assigned a “fact-finding delegation” to investigate reports of “abuse of school children in Logar,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Mohammad Mussa Mahmoudi, the head of Logar’s Civil Society, claimed that teachers, headmasters and local officials are involved in the abuse ring.
The Guardian article, citing Mahmoudi, claimed that "over 500" children and youth had allegedly been abused. In an interview with TOLOnews, Mahmoudi said "390" was the number of boys recorded in the civil society report.
The victims are between 12 and 20 years old, he said.
Amiry said that Mahmoudi showed him dozens of videos of abuse that “shocked” him, adding that “It delves deep into the social challenges of this society.”
A 16-year-old student said he was abused by the headmaster: “The school principal failed me two times for the same year of classes, and he was always assaulting me and making excuses (for his abuse) like: ‘Why are you coming late to the class?’” said the student.
Mahmoudi says that “We heard so much pain. A child's father was crying and saying ‘I no longer have dignity,’ and ‘I can no longer live in Afghanistan,’ and we witnessed the pain of people who were even feeling ashamed of their Afghan identity, said Mahmoudi.
Lotfullah Stanikzai, head of the teacher’s union in Logar, said that he has not heard reports of abuse of students.
“We have never recorded such an incident. Logar people are a dignified people and they really don’t like such actions and there has been never such an incident in the history of Logar,” said Stanikzai.
Along with the hundreds of cases already reported, more crimes may surface if legal authorities focus on the allegations.
“If an investigation is started, maybe the number of cases will rise further still,” said a civil society activist.
According to local officials, there are 92 schools active in Logar province.