AFP, January 18, 2012

British troops arrested over Afghan “child abuse”

The claims come less than a week after a video emerged showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of militants in Afghanistan

British military police have arrested two servicemen over allegations that they abused children in Afghanistan, the defence ministry said Wednesday, prompting a furious reaction from Kabul.

The Sun newspaper reported that a sergeant and a private from the Mercian Battle Group have been arrested over claims that they abused an Afghan boy and a girl, both aged about 10, and filmed the incidents.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman confirmed two servicemen had been arrested and released after questioning as part of an investigation by the Royal Military Police's Special Investigations Branch.

"Two service personnel have been arrested, interviewed under caution and released," the spokesman said.

Two British troops have been accused of abusing children in Afghanistan. (Photo:

The MoD said earlier it took any allegations of child abuse "extremely seriously".

The Afghan government said it was "disgusted" by the allegations and demanded an immediate investigation.

The claims come less than a week after a video emerged showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of militants in Afghanistan.

"The government of Afghanistan is immensely disgusted by the rise in recent incidents of immoral nature among foreign soldiers," President Hamid Karzai's office said.

"(Such incidents) clearly undermine public confidence and the Afghan people?s cooperation with foreign troops."

The statement said the government was "deeply disturbed by reports that two British soldiers have encouraged two Afghan children to touch them through their clothes".

NATO forces in Afghanistan were also quick to react.

"We expect members of all ISAF troop-contributing nations to adhere to the highest standards of military service," said Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"An investigation has been launched, and if a service member is found to have committed an offence, or behaved in a manner not in keeping with the appropriate moral standards expected of them, they will be dealt with appropriately through the respective nation's military judicial system."

Britain has some 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, mainly based in Helmand where they are battling a Taliban insurgency. Britain intends to pull out all its combat troops by 2015.

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