A United States government agency finally took issue with the rampant rape of boys in Afghanistan. According to a recent article:
In its most recent quarterly report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) criticized the Afghan government for failing to adequately protect boy victims of sexual abuse known as bacha bazi. […] The SIGAR report said the Afghan government has failed to adequately assist bacha bazi victims and that is resulting in the “arrest and prosecution” of boys who have been victims of that abuse. These abuses continue despite President Ashraf Ghani’s June 2016 pledge of “thorough investigation and immediate action” of bacha bazi abuse by military personnel.
The U.S. is in no position to point fingers. Our government has known about the abuse for almost two decades. Rather than stop the abuse, we have ignored it. Two years ago, the Pentagon denied promoting a policy of ignoring this abuse, despite a leaked field manual showing that troops were instructed to avoid “any criticism of pedophilia.” The State Department researched the abuse against boys, however, the findings focused on protecting girls from potential abuse from former male victims, not preventing the boys from being raped in the first place. This is the same institution that tried to discharge a Green Beret for assaulting a child rapist.
It does not sound like the U.S. is tremendously concerned with stopping the abuse. It sounds more like the government will ignore it if it benefits their anti-terrorism goals, even though many of the people committing the acts work with the U.S. government. This could ironically cause more boys and men to join terrorist groups as those groups often oppose the bacha bazi practice. More so, it could lead to further anger and opposition against the U.S. and our forces since it would appear, accurately I might add, that we are colluding with the abusers.
The article mentions that:
The US government’s bankrolling of the Afghan government and military forces give it unique leverage to demand an end to such abuses by criminalizing such violations and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.
That makes little difference if the U.S. has no interest is using such leverage. The past two decades suggest that the government would sooner allow thousands of boys to be raped in exchange for strategic advantage than hold our supposed allies to the moral and ethical standards for which we are engaged in this conflict.
As for the Afghan government, many of the people running the government routinely rape boys. It is in their best interest not to pursue any changes or enforcement of the law. Not only would they lose their positions and freedom, but they would also destabilize the tenuous control they have over the country.
This could have been avoided had the United States stopped the abuse early. The moment it came to the military’s knowledge, they could have hinged their military support on the prevention of the abuse. Anyone wishing for our support would have to put an end to the bacha bazi practice and enforce the policy. By ignoring it for this long, the U.S. is no longer in any actual position to do anything, primarily because it has been complicit in allowing the rapes.