Bacha Bazi--Dancing Boys

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Child SlaverySlavery In conflict

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”.

A Batch Bazi is a young boy taken from his family to dance for a male audience, the boys are often sexually assaulted and are kept like concubines.  The killings illustrate how bacha bazi is aggravating insecurity in Uruzgan, a remote province which officials warn is teetering on the brink of collapse, unravelling hard-won gains by US, Australian and Dutch troops who fought there for years.

“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.”

 

Afghanistan's Dancing Boys

A young Afghan Batcha Bazi (Dancing Boy) is being dressed by his “owner” for a private party.

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