The Afghan tradition of “bacha bazi” – literally “boy play” – is illegal both under Sharia law and civil code, yet few are prosecuted – especially if the perpetrators are powerful men. Yesterday the New York Times reported that the US soldiers have been told to ignore the practice, even when it takes place on military outposts. From their story:
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children. “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,” said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.” The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it. After the beating, the Army relieved Captain Quinn of his command and pulled him from Afghanistan. He has since left the military. Four years later, the Army is also trying to forcibly retire Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Special Forces member who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the commander
Bryan Fischer, of course, was quick to pounce. RELATED: In 2010 PBS broadcast a documentary on bacha bazi. Watch it here.