WASHINGTON : The Pentagon has announced that it is launching an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse in Afghanistan, including what US troops did in response to any incidents.

A number of American troops who deployed to Afghanistan have said they saw signs of widespread sexual abuse and believed there was a policy, even if unofficial, encouraging them to ignore the crime rather than create tension between Americans and Afghans.

The investigation will confine its probe to the period since 2011. Investigators will examine whether the US military maintained any formal or informal rules or policies discouraging American troops from reporting suspected sexual abuse by Afghans.

The investigation follows a report in The New York Times last month that US troops were told to look the other way when Afghan forces sexually abused young boys because it’s a part of the ‘Afghan culture’.

One soldier was reportedly relieved of command after beating up an Afghan service member for keeping a young boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.