There is no subtle way of saying this so let me just blurt it out: men are having sex with boys in Afghanistan and they appear to be doing it with the backing of the U.S. military. Shocked? Get over it, because this isn’t about you. This isn’t some social psychological examination to see what it takes to make you say WTF. This is the real thing. It’s happening, and according to several published reports, including a detailed investigation by the New York Times, U.S. Marines are being disciplined for trying to stop it.
This non-interventionist policy may be a way of trying to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militia forces we have trained, but it’s also a sign of U.S. complicity in a despicable crime beneath the dignity of our military, our country and our elected officials,
Since 2002, reports have been surfacing of a centuries-old tradition where Pashtun men, forbidden from having physical relations with the women whose ankles they are barely allowed to peer, have been instead turning their attention to boys.
In fact, it’s become a status symbol among powerful men in Afghanistan to have a boy, or two, or maybe even a harem of sex slaves. The practice is so widespread, it’s now even taking place on U.S. military installations (U.S. servicemen work side by side with Afghans), where U.S. Marines complain of hearing the screams in the night of boys being raped — yes, raped!
It’s called “Bacha bazi,” “boy play,” and it mirrors a long held tradition among Pashtun men that “women are for having children, but boys are for pleasure.” A routine Google search of Bacha Bazi reveals a frightening volume of information, pictures, videos and first-hand accounts of past and current cruelty. The most recent details the story of Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who was relieved of duty and sent packing for beating up an American-backed militia commander who was keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.
“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” Quinn explains to the New York Times. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did.”
According to the Times, the Army is also trying to force the retirement of Sgt. First Class
Charles Martland, a Special Forces member who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the pedophile Afghan commander.
Ironically, it was the Taliban who had stopped the practice of Bacha bazi in Afghanistan by crushing to death any and all men suspected of being a pedophiles. But when U.S. forces kicked out the Taliban and returned the Pashtun to power, they also inadvertently re-instituted man on boy sex. Why is the U.S. military allowing it? Because U.S. commanders are reluctant to do anything about it for fear of losing the support of the police and paramilitary forces they have trained throughout the war torn country. It is why Marines and soldiers are reportedly being mandated to turn a blind eye to the horrors of institutional pedophilia.
The U.S. military response is, thus far, tepid at best. Spokesperson and Col. Brian Tribus is quoted in the Times article saying, “allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.” He then added, “There would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.”
If that doesn’t sound like an order to look the other way, I’m not sure what does. This non-interventionist policy may be a way of trying to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militia forces we have trained, but it’s also a sign of U.S. complicity in a despicable crime beneath the dignity of our military, our country and our elected officials,
It is time for the media, which was quick to point out (and rightly so) every sin committed during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to now pay an equal amount of attention to this budding horror. U.N. representatives call it “sexual slavery,” in which boys are picked up from their homes and forced to have sex with men and sometimes kept chained to prevent them from escaping.
This must stop! We must act! And President Obama, under whose command this is occurring, must act immediately and decisively — or face the media’s well-deserved wrath. We’re waiting.