The Taliban are exploiting the Afghan practice of having sex with young boys by sending sex slaves into Afghan police outposts to mount insider attacks, multiple officials told Agence France-Presse.
The insurgents are using boys as irresistible bait, or “honey traps,” said 21-year-old Matiullah, a policeman who was the only survivor from an insider attack in Deh Rawud district in spring last year.
He said the attacker was the checkpoint commander’s sex slave, a teenager called Zabihullah. Late one night, he went on a shooting spree, killing seven policemen including the commander as they slept.
“The Taliban are sending boys — beautiful boys, handsome boys — to penetrate checkpoints and kill, drug and poison policemen,” a former Afghan police chief told Agence France-Presse. The practice of sleeping with young boys is known as “bacha bazi,” which literally translates to “boy play.” “They have figured out the biggest weakness of police forces — bacha bazi,” the police chief said.
The barbaric practice is still popular in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. In Uruzgan, the Taliban have reportedly killed hundreds of Afghan police officers by utilizing the boys. Of the 370 local and police outposts in Uruzgan, nearly all police commanders have a personal boy sex slave. The Taliban will reportedly exploit the hatred of many of the sex slaves to recruit them for insider attacks.
In March, Congress had to press the Pentagon to reinstate a U.S. Green Beret who was disciplined for striking an Afghan militia commander. The militia commander reportedly had a small boy chained to his bed and repeatedly raped him. When the soldier found out about the practice, he attacked the militia commander.
The Taliban currently hold the most territory in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in 2001. One of the central appeals of the Taliban to many Uruzgan locals is its ruthless punishment of those who practice bacha bazi. Some police commanders have used their influence and weapons to kidnap local boys — building significant local backlash and support for the Taliban.
While senior Afghan officials deplore the practice, they often find themselves unable to do anything about it. The governor of Uruzgan province arrested a police commander guilty of kidnapping a small boy, but had to release him. He justified the release by saying he needed the police commander to help fight against the Taliban.
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