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05 April 2012

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Patrick D

It would be uninformed and naive to think that this practise has not been common in Afghanistan in the past.

Indeed. Babur frequently mentions catemites in his memoirs, The Baburnama.

The beaver

Even though the "kyte runner" is a novel, the author did mention about this practice in his book.Cultural historians have also written about this practice in some parts of India.

Andy

PL,

The Taliban never offered to hand UBL over the US. The most they ever offered to do was hand him over to another Islamic country for trial, but those offers were contingent on the US presenting evidence to convince the Taliban of his guilt. In January 2000 US officials presented the Taliban with detailed point-by-point evidence of UBL's involvement in the African Embassy bombings. The Taliban rejected the evidence and refused to expel UBL.

Up until October 2001, they continuously insisted there was no evidence that UBL was responsible for any terrorism, denied UBL had issued a fatwa on attacking the US, and repeatedly told US officials he was a guest and would not be turned over to the US, turned over to a third country, or otherwise expelled from Afghanistan. They also continually insisted that UBL was under Taliban "control" and therefore could not participate in any terrorist activities.

A declassified summary of US government talks with the Taliban prior to 9/11 can be found here:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/tal40.pdf


As for Bacha Bazi boys, well I guess I have a hard time cutting the Taliban any slack for that considering their history of using rape as a weapon, among other evils.

Matthew

I guess we will be hearing his excuse a lot. See
http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/04/05/u_s_iran_fueled_anti_american_unrest_after_koran_burning.html

Personally, I blame the collapse of the Maya, the Norman Conquest, and sun spots on the Iranians.

turcopolier

Andy

You are mistaken. I know several of the people they contacted. pl

Fred

So the Bacha Bazi get to rely on the likes of Karzai? That's worked reall well this past decade.

Stephanie

It’s nice if the Taliban tried to do something for those poor boys but on the other hand their oppression of women, sexually and otherwise, was/is brutal and lifelong.

When George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman did his tour in Afghanistan, he noted that the men were all for sodomizing boys to the general neglect of Afghan women. The British were happy to pick up the slack, apparently.

According to the book “Charlie Wilson’s War” our Afghan allies were also prone to forcing their attentions on innocent American mules shipped into the country for transport purposes via the good offices of the CIA and the Army. The mules could expect to be eaten as well as violated. Nice place.

Fred

It seems this would be one item the US could agree on with the Taliban.

Andy

PL,

The Clinton administration negotiated with the Taliban for four years about UBL. Most of the diplomatic cables related to those negotiations are now in the public record. If there was a serious and credible offer it doesn't appear in the diplomatic correspondence (though it's been a couple of years since I examined the documents in detail). I don't know how to reconcile the discrepancy between your sources and what the State Department reported of their negotiations with the Taliban leadership.

optimax

Beaver,

My memory of "The Kite Runner" is the boy was raped by the Taliban as a form of intimidation. If there were discriptions in the book of dancing boys (there very well could have been), I don't remember them.

William R. Cumming

Did the boys taken from their Spartan mothers at age 7 dance for their protectors? What aspects of Classical Greece culture remain today in Afghanistan?

turcopolier

Andy

The State Department negotiated for years when there was nothing much to be lost by the Taliban for protecting UBL. When it was clear that we were coming, the offer from OFFICIAL America was gone. The men who were contacted were the men who had heloed the Afghan Mujagideen ( not the Taliban) defeat the USSR. pl

turcopolier

Stephanie

THe Mujahideen were really Pakistan's allies. We provided the ISI with materiel to give to the Mujahideen. Ye you are right. First they screwed the mules and then they made kabob out of them when they broke down. They are not nice. Did we not know that? pl

Jose

Stephanie, they also raped Russian POW's...

PeterHug

I don't need nice. I guess I'm not all that nice in some ways myself (by which I mean me personally, and the US institutionally).

But I DO need you to be prepared to protect my critical interests if you expect me to go out of my way to protect yours...and I REALLY need you to do what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it.

If you do that, and I can reciprocate, we have the beginnings of a relationship.

DanM

Stephanie,

If the lot of Afghan women was 100% awful under the Taliban, it's about 95% awful today. How many dead soldiers and billions of dollars are you willing to sustain this small improvement? It's not just the "taliban" or the "pashto" neither.

citizen

This issue is related to the level of Western naivety concerning homosexual rights in the Mid East, and there was condemnation of many Islamist regimes, including the Taliban, on this score. Homosexuals will be very quick to argue that what goes on in prison isn't homosexual, being an expression of dominance and sadism in some cases. It is arguable that traditional forms of homosexual behavior in that region are closer to the prison phenomenon than Westerners would care to admit. And, ignoring the issue of outright sadism and dominance, it is exploitative. Poor men's sons and orphans become bachchas. The Soviets, to their credit, cracked down on this sort of thing in the 'stans.

To get an example of the utter hypocrisy of the Western Left on this topic, one should read Langston Hughes on bachchas in Uzbekistan. It's all quite romantic and mysterious, nothing "vulgar and uncouth" in the performances according to Hughes. Hughes' vapid analysis of the phenomenon did not include, however, what happened to those children after the performances were over.

tequila

The custom apparently comes from Central Asia and probably has both Persian and Turkic antecedents.

See Kocek, common in Ottoman times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6%C3%A7ek

tequila

Also Frontline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dancingboys/

BBC radio documentary:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009hrwl

Stephanie

Dan, I didn't say anything in my post about the plight of Afghan women being a rationale for our staying in the region (although I'd question your 95%). I didn't buy that bit when the Bush Administration trotted Mrs. Bush out to talk about it and I still don't. My point that whatever the Taliban supposedly did to protect boys - and I must say I view Ms. Wirth's statement with a certain amount of skepticism - their appalling record against half of the population counts very much against them.

Col. Lang, you are right about Pakistan and I know they're not nice and my mention of the mules was not meant entirely seriously. The book said the Office of Logistics was actually pretty upset about the business, though.

Jane

It's more than a small improvement:

It showed that estimated life expectancy is up to between 62 and 64 years for both men and women. That compares with previous studies showing life expectancy from 47 to 50 – the latter figure reported by the WHO in 2009. The survey also showed infant mortality had been cut in half in recent years, down to 97 deaths per 1,000 live births. It said one in 10 children in Afghanistan dies before they are five years old while previous surveys, carried out about five years ago, showed that one child in five died before reaching that age. The 2009 WHO study reported 199 deaths per 1,000 live births. Women are also far more likely to survive pregnancy today. The survey indicated that the number of women who die from pregnancy related causes has dropped to one in every 50. Afghan women on average have just over five children, it said.

citizen

No, pederasty predates the Turkic arrival in C. Asia. As I gather, sedentary Turkic peoples: Uzbeks, Azeris, Uyghurs, Anatolian Turks and other smaller groups, heavily influenced by preexisting Middle Eastern peoples, practiced it, indeed in the form of bachcha bazi and in lyrical poetry in devotion to pretty boys they made it a systematic feature of their culture, rather than an occasional practice. Kazakhs, and other groups in Turkic groups in Siberia and the Volga were not know for this. It probably existed, but it wasn't such a central part of the culture.

In fact, Ibn Fadlan, most famous for his description of Viking burials, traveled through what is now Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. He mentioned that pederasty was condemned by the Turks he encountered, in contrast to their sedentary Khwarezmian (Iranic) neighbors. The people he encountered were probably Oghuz, whose descendants would later invade the ME under the Seljuks, and would form the basis of the Ottoman and Safavid states, both societies known for pederasty.

wurth@un.org

Journalists take quotes out of context. The practice of baccha baazi has increased in the past ten years, according to many Afghans I have spoken with, this does not mean that in certain areas, by certain men in power, the practice was not prevalent. I mentioned to the Washington Post that the religious Taliban who followed Shari'a Law help public trials for perpetrators of sexual abuse of young boys. I added that the same adherence to Shari'a Law and public trials resulted in atrocities. My quote reads as if I would welcome such a regime back, which is nonsense. As a Child Protection Advisor for the United Nations I have documented how the Taliban has killed and maimed thousands of children during the past three years, abducts and murders children as retaliation for 'saying for the government', and how Taliban recruit children to execute suicide attacks. These facts and figures are available in public UN Secretary General reports. What the article also fails to mention is the work done by the Government, supported by the UN, to stop and prevent sexual abuse. We talked about this for 30 minutes, but there is not a word mentioned about it, as if the UN and the Aghan Government are sitting back and letting it happen. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence have issued decrees to their command forbidding the sexual abuse of children, and setting out procedures for disciplinary action against perpetrators. The Ministry of Interior has also issued a few hundred thousand pocket books for all members of the Afghan National Police in which it clearly states that exploiting young boys for dancing and sexual is strictly forbidden in Afghan Law, and in Islam. I guess that's not news. Because it is progress and shows the commitment og the Afghan Government to address these violations of children's rights. Let me be clear: baccha baazi is practiced in certain areas of the country, by men in position of power. The vast majority of the Afghan people, men and women, are as disgusted by sexual exploitation of children as we are.

Morocco Bama

They were nice enough to receive a welcome to the U.S. and attend a Houston Astros game...or was it the Texas Rangers? Either way, I'm sure it's everything the corporate folks could do to keep the humping mad men from rushing the field and having their way with all those Bacha Bazi boys flaunting their stuff out on the beautiful green meadow in front of such a large audience. My oh my, what the savages must have thought. It must have been like Andy Griffith at his first football game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z3XvZ-lh7I

Why would the Taliban turn OBL over when OBL denied having anything to do with attacks?

http://articles.cnn.com/2001-09-16/us/inv.binladen.denial_1_bin-laden-taliban-supreme-leader-mullah-mohammed-omar?_s=PM:US

These are not the words of a true terrorist, are they? Why would OBL no lay claim to the most notorious terrorist attack in recent history? This was the big one, and he denies it? What?

johnf

Apologies for O/T, but for those who haven't seen this:

Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/all/1

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