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News Link • Foreign Policy

The Rape of the Afghan Boys

• / Kelley B. Vlahos

We talk about the possibility of losing the war in Afghanistan, but what if we lose our soul in Afghanistan?

Indirectly, Frontline will be asking that very question on April 20 with an underground report on the resurgence of bacha bazi or "boy play" among the wealthiest and most powerful men in northern Afghanistan. It’s the pustule threatening to burst all over the righteousness of our humanitarian effort there, and just the tip of the sick fact of how poor Afghan children are systematically used, abused, and tossed away by the ruling elite and even Afghan soldiers living, training, and fighting alongside our own.

Bacha bazi is an old Afghan tradition of taking young boys, dressing them up like girls, and making them perform for older men in tea rooms, weddings, and other private venues. The boys are "owned" by single or married men who trade or keep the boys as concubines. According to reports, the boys’ ages range from eight to 19, when they "age out" of the practice and are released.

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