Afghanistan to Stop Using Kids as Soldiers, Sex Slaves

Will sign UN pledge to end unsavory practice
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2011 3:28 PM CST
An Afghan boy carries an assault rifle in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Afghanistan will sign a formal agreement at the UN tomorrow promising to stop using young boys as police or military sex slaves, the New York Times reports. Hamid Karzai ordered the deal after Afghanistan was placed on a UN blacklist for “grave violations against children in armed combat.” Officials admit they’ve recruited many young boys into their security forces, in part because of pressure from NATO to expand those forces quickly. “There’s been a big push to get the numbers up,” says one UN official.

Afghanistan will also officially acknowledge for the first time the widespread use of young boys as sex slaves by the military. In a tradition known as bacha bazi, meaning “boy play,” boys as young as 9 are dressed in girls’ clothing and prostituted to the highest bidder. Commanders often keep the boys as constant sexual companions. "In Kandahar, it constitutes an openly celebrated cultural tradition," a Pentagon consultant observed in a 2009 report.

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