Bacha Bazi is an ancient custom that is popular in Afghanistan, especially in the province of Uruzgan. It literally means boys without beards and involves a lustful attraction to them by powerful police commanders.
The Taliban, however, for the last two years, have used the boys like a wave of Trojan Horse attacks to kill hundreds of policemen, according to security and judicial officials in the province.
Ghulan Sakhi Rogh Lewanai who was once a Uruzgan’s police chief says, “The Taliban are sending boys – beautiful boys, handsome boys – to penetrate checkpoints and kill, drug and poison policemen. They have figured out the biggest weakness of police forces – bacha bazi.”
The custom is the abuse of children by both sides of the conflict. It has make authorities confused, and one recently said, “it’s easier tackling suicide bombers than bacha attackers”.
“These bacha attacks have fuelled deep mistrust within police ranks,” said a police commander at a checkpoint.
The insurgents are using boys as honey traps, said 21-year-old Matiullah, a policeman who was the only survivor from an insider attack in Dehrawud district in spring last year. He explained how the attacker was the checkpoint commander’s own sex slave, a young boy named Zabihullah. One night, the boy went on a shooting spree, killing seven policemen, some while they slept. “He brought the Taliban inside and poked all the bodies with rifle butts to see if anyone was alive. I pretended to be dead.”
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