Afghan sex practices concern U.S., British forces

Washington examiner:

By: Sara A. Carter 12/20/10 8:05 PM
National security correspondent

Pfc. Martinez Wangner from Rockville MD of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 Infantry stands guard outside the door of a house during a patrol in Chowkay district near Pakistani border in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Pfc. Martinez Wangner from Rockville MD of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 Infantry stands guard outside the door of a house during a patrol in Chowkay district near Pakistani border in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
A document released by WikiLeaks described efforts by high-ranking Afghan officials to quash reports of police officers and other Afghans arrested for “purchasing a service from a child.”The leaked diplomatic cable quoted former Minister of the Interior Hanif Atmar’s concern that publicity about the arrests, which involved the hiring of “dancing boys,” would “endanger lives.”

The author of the diplomatic cable fretted that the case would be “blown out of proportion, an outcome that would not be good for either the U.S. or Afghanistan.”

The vast gulf between U.S. and Afghan attitudes about homosexuality and pedophilia has generated concern among U.S. advisers in Afghanistan since the American presence there began to expand.

In late 2009, U.S. and British forces ordered a study of Pashtun male sexuality. They were worried that homosexuality and pedophilia among Afghan security forces and tribes could create cultural misunderstanding with allied troops, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Examiner.

The study, requested by 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion along with British forces in Lashkar Gah, was conducted by members of one of the Defense Department’s Human Terrain Teams stationed in Afghanistan. The report was authored by team member Anna Maria Cardinalli, who said the goal was to learn how to advise “U.S. and British service members who report encounters with men displaying apparently homosexual tendencies. These service members are frequently confused [by] this behavior.”

The report described unease by U.S. Marines and British soldiers who felt they were being propositioned, or who were outraged by apparent acts of pedophilia by Afghan soldiers and police. It documented one case in which 12 of 20 Pashtun interpreters working with one U.S. Army unit had contracted gonorrhea from homosexual encounters.

Troops interviewed by The Examiner say they are frequently forced to deal with a radically different attitude toward sex with male youths by Afghan security forces.

“I know Marines and soldiers who have refused to work with Afghan military or police,” said one U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s not about homosexuality as much as it is about the young boys. Some of them like to show pictures on their cell phone — that should be illegal. Some of the Afghans have their own young boys they use for sexual purposes and we can’t do anything about it.”

Cardinalli told The Examiner by e-mail that she is writing a book about widespread acceptance of male homosexuality among Pashtuns, a culture where far fewer opportunities for premarital heterosexual encounters exist.

“To dismiss the existence of this dynamic out of desire to avoid Western discomfort is to risk failing to comprehend an essential social force underlying Pashtun culture which can potentially effect the success” of the U.S. effort there, Cardinalli wrote in the report.

An American military official who works closely with Afghan security forces called the discomfort among U.S. and British troops “the elephant in the closet that no one’s talking about, but needs to.”

The study makes a number of observations about the extreme segregation of women in Pashtun culture.

It discusses the prohibitive cost of marriage within Pashtun tribes and the long-standing traditions in which boys are appreciated for their physical beauty and apprenticed to older men to learn a trade at an early age.

“Homosexuality is strictly prohibited in Islam, but cultural interpretations of Islamic teaching prevalent in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan tacitly condone it in comparison to heterosexual relationships,” the study states.

For a male to have sex with a boy is considered a “foible,” the report said. By contrast, having sex with an “ineligible woman” would set up “issues of revenge and honor killings.”

Years of living under that cultural construct have greatly altered sexual attitudes, the study said. “One of the country’s favorite sayings is ‘women are for children, boys are for pleasure,” the report noted.

The study said the prevailing sexual attitudes in some parts of Afghanistan are creating a cycle damaging to boys and young men.

“There is frequently the risk that Pashtun boys will face a set of experiences that mold their beliefs regarding sexuality as adults in ways that are ultimately damaging, both to themselves and to Afghan society,” the report concludes. “It appears that this set of experiences becomes cyclical, affecting generations, and that this cycle that has existed long enough to affect the underpinnings of Afghan culture itself.”

Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner’s national security correspondent. She can be reached at

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12 Replies to “Afghan sex practices concern U.S., British forces”

  1. My father-in-law spent part of his childhood living in Aden, far from Afghanistan. He is now in his mid-60s.

    He saw this stuff first hand. It was called “small boy Thursdays” and is not confined to those two areas of the Muslim world.

    Do we need any more reason to despise Islam and Muslims for the hypocrisy that they exhibit?

  2. There is a very large strain of homosexual pedophilia that runs through all of the Arabicized Moslem nations, it is politically incorrect to call attention to this but it exists. I know that no colonial power managed to stamp it out and unless we can change the entire culture we won’t be able to either. I think the reason it is ignored by the MSM is that if they broadcast the problem to the world just about everyone in the West would turn against the Moslems.

  3. I ‘ve seen a documentary about the “dancing boys” I think it was on public TV. Disgusting and sad beyond belief. It may be ilegal over there (I don’t remember) but it is practised in many places.

  4. It is illegal and supposedly against the Koran, but it is practiced in Afghan, Pakistan and most of the Arabicized Moslem nations, just not as openly as in Afghan. I don’t know if this came in from Islam or from the pre-Moslem Afghan culture (mainly Buddhist) or a combination of the two. And I doubt if anyone else really knows.

  5. Google “The Kingdom in the Closet”, between quotation marks, and you’ll all find quite a revealing article from The Atlantic which, mahoundianism’s alleged opposition to homosexuality notwithstanding, describes how widespread gay sex is in Opensewerabia, the home of the giant black cube.

    One of the most outstanding and revealing bits of the piece describes how Saudi “men”, though using each other for sexual gratification, say there is nothing even remotely gay about that. And why? They think there is a clear distinction between having sexual relations with someone from the same gender and actually being gay. According to them, the latter has only to do with referring to one’s own identity as gay. If two penis-possessing Saudis screw each other in private and don’t refer to themselves as homosexuals, that is perfectly OK, and it doesn’t make them gay in their sick minds.

  6. We all know about the 72 virgins waiting for them in Paradise, but don’t forget the young boys with skin as white as pearls. Yup. It says that. Just another of that long list of things that the Mainstream Media don’t want us to know. Imams get right testy when anyone brings up those boys with the pearl skin, but I’ve never heard one give a good explanation. I hate to be judgemental, but that stuff is really, really sick! That’s Sodom and Gomorah, Angel of the Lord stuff if ever I have heard it.

  7. There is one thing that Muslims and I do agree on. It is that EVERYONE should read the Koran. Although I do agree with Bernard Payeur that it should be restricted to people 19 and over. It is not a book for children.

  8. It isn’t a book for a little kid. but the stipulation I would put on this is that the copy of the Koran they read is one where the books are arranged in chronological order.

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