A growing epidemic of young Afghan boys being kidnapped and held captive as institutionalized sex slaves.
In provinces across Afghanistan, families report their children are being kidnapped as part of “bacha bazi,” a culturally-sanctioned pedophilic exploitation headed by Western-backed security forces, says a Monday report from Yahoo News!
These stories reach from Helmand, where many of these kidnappings are occurring, to Uruzgan and northern Baghlan. The AFP News Agency revealed this past summer that, ‘the Taliban are exploiting bacha bazi in police ranks to mount deadly insider attacks.’
The heart-wrenching accounts of these families have a common thread: the anguish they have endured by struggling to free captured loved ones from culturally-sanctioned sex enslavement. Many of these innocent, young boys are said to be kidnapped ‘in broad daylight from their homes, opium farms and playgrounds.’
Here is one abduction account as reported by Yahoo! News:
Shirin recalled how his 13-year-old brother-in-law screamed and writhed as he was taken from his home earlier this year by a police commander in southern Helmand.
“When I begged for his release, his men pointed their guns and said: ‘Do you want your family to die? Forget your boy’,” Shirin told AFP in Lashkar Gah.
“Our boys are openly abducted for bacha bazi. Where should we go for help? The Taliban?”
It is nearly impossible to locate the captives as the young boys are “shuffled among police checkpoints, complicating efforts to trace them.’
To further compound their grief and agony, parents are fearful their boys will become addicted to the opiates they are given to make them more submissive.
According to Anuj Chopra at Yahoo! News,
The Afghan government has said it has zero tolerance for child abusers in security ranks.
But Uruzgan government spokesman Dost Mohammad Nayab acknowledged nearly every provincial checkpoint had a bacha. He fears any move to extricate them could see angry policemen abandoning their posts, paving the way for the Taliban. Nayab adds, “It is difficult to separate policemen from their bachas in this security situation” since police serve as a first line of defense against insurgents.
But for campaigners like Charu Lata Hogg, a London-based fellow at the Chatham House think-tank, citing security as an excuse for inaction is unconscionable.
“The UN and Afghanistan signed an action plan in 2011 that explicitly calls for rehabilitation of sexually abused children,” she said. “So why has no tangible action been taken?”
Helmand activist Sardar Hamdard said the practice has undercut public support for Afghan forces, enabling the Taliban to exploit it as a recruitment tool. He made this statement: “Rampant bacha bazi is ruining our society. Our children grow up believing that raping boys is normal,” reports Chopra.
With minimal legal action being taken against these unconscionable acts and a culture turning a blind eye, many Afghan families remain hopeless and in despair.
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