Sexual Abuse of “Dancing Boys” in Afghanistan – Bacha Bazi and Its Impact on Americans Serving There
by Chris Gacek
September 22, 2015
In a significant article, the New York Times has broached the subject of the rampant sexual abuse of young children and teens by Afghan men. The story is tied to its reporting on the effects this has had on American forces in Afghanistan who have been told to ignore such acts – even if they occur in their presence or on military bases. As the story notes, in one example, “Dan Quinn was relieved of his Special Forces command after a fight with a U.S.-backed militia leader who had a boy as a sex slave chained to his bed.” His story and those of two other Americans is recounted. Apparently, there has been much personal and career damage caused by this amoral policy of non-intervention.
As it turns out, in Afghanistan there is a ritualized form of sexual abuse called “bacha bazi” – or boy play. (The practice was supposedly banned under the Taliban, and it is nominally illegal under current Afghan law.) The boys are often trained to dance and dress as young girls before being used for sex. Some boys are just sodomized if they can’t learn these perverse geisha-like talents.
An Afghan journalist, Najibullah Quraishi, produced a documentary, “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan,” that was shown in London in late March 2010 (run time: 52 min; this version is available on vimeo.com). In the United States, a slightly longer and more polished production was aired on PBS’s Frontline in April 2010 under the same title. It can be found here.
The nation needs to support the efforts of Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) who are trying to investigate this horrific practice and salvage the career of Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a member of the Special Forces who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the Afghan who is reportedly a child-molesting commander.