The Taliban is using child sex slaves as Trojan Horses to destroy Afghanistan's police forces from within, AFP reports. "Bacha bazi" is an ancient custom of having sex with young boys, and it's rampant among police commanders, for whom "boys without beards" are "objects of lustful attraction." A judge calls the police force's use of young boys as sex slaves an "addiction worse than opium," with many officers more willing to give up policing than their boys. It's an addiction the Taliban has proved willing to exploit. "The Taliban are sending boys—beautiful boys, handsome boys—to penetrate checkpoints and kill, drug, and poison policemen," says a former police chief, who calls bacha bazi the "biggest weakness of police forces."
Officials say the Taliban has killed hundreds of police officers in this way over the past two years. There were at least six such attacks between January and April alone. One former police officer recalls a young sex slave opening fire in the middle of the night, killing seven other officers. The boys—between the ages of 12 and 15—are often abducted from playgrounds to be sex slaves, the poorer the better, RT reports. Many of them see the Taliban as the only escape from their police abusers. Bacha bazi, which was banned under Taliban rule, is not seen as pedophilia or homosexuality, which is illegal in Afghanistan. The director of Child Soldiers International blames the practice partly on the limited access to women in Afghan society. The Pentagon launched an investigation in February after long ignoring reports from soldiers. (Read more child sex abuse stories.)