Behind The Shame And Silence Of Afghan Child Sexual Abuse.
Bacha Bazi is the widely culturally practiced sexual enslavement of Afghan boys by older men. It imprisons and maligns not only the young victims, but also their families. Force and coercion are common, and security officials state they are unable to end such practices because many of the men involved in bacha bazi-related activities are powerful and well-armed warlords and commanders. No law has been promulgated against this heinous abuse. “Rescue to where?” is a common refrain, when these kids have been separated from their masters. It is too dangerous for them to return to their families, and if they did, the family usually would uproot to a Taliban-controlled region for safety. The Taliban banned this reprehensible practice in the areas under their control.
American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan after 2001 spoke of their surprise at watching grown men walking down the streets of the conservative country, hand in hand with a young boy. But even the coalition forces looked the other way. Lance Corporal Geoffrey Buckley Jr told his father he was forced to listen to the screams of young boys being raped at night. Lance Cprl Buckley was shot to death on his base, but he was not the only person to raise the alarm. Unicef compiled its own report in 2008, and an award-winning documentary followed. In 2011, an Afghan mother in the Kunduz province reported that her 12-year-old son had been chained to a bed and raped for two weeks by an Afghan Local Police Commander Abdul Rahman. When confronted, Rahman laughed and confessed. He was subsequently severely beaten by two US Special Forces soldiers and physically thrown off the base. The soldiers were involuntarily separated from the military, but later reinstated after a lengthy legal case. As a direct result of this incident, legislation was created called “Mandating America’s Responsibility to Limit Abuse, Negligence and Depravity”, or “Martland Act” named after Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland. Yet nothing has changed. Anuj Chopra’s courageous article is the latest of a series of exposures on this intractable issue.
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