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Ghani Takes 'Serious Measures' Against Child Sexual Abuse

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks to the audience during the Afghan Urban Development Conference, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on September 21.

The Afghan presidency says President Ashraf Ghani has undertaken "serious measures" to prevent sexual abuse of children in the country.

Ghani's office quoted him as telling "all security authorities of the country" via video teleconference on September 23 that "the laws, culture, and religious values of the people of Afghanistan recognize sexual abuse of children as one of the severest crimes and violations of human rights."

Ghani directed all ranks of the Afghan defense and security forces to prevent "any such acts through taking instructive, reformative, and punitive measures."

The move follows reports that Afghan forces who worked with U.S. military personnel sexually assaulted boys and that U.S. troops were told to ignore suspicions of abuse.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, said on September 22 that Ghani had assured him the government "will not tolerate abuse of its children."