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Murder, Mayhem and Rape in Afghanistan: Made in the U.S.A.

World  (tags: afghan onion, afghanistan, child abuse, child rape, iraq, islamic state, rawa, sexual abuse, sonali kolhatkar, taliban, the onion, u.s. military, uprising )

- 1272 days ago -
Just as warlords have been allowed to rape children and murder captives, U.S. troops have looked the other way as their drug lord allies have cultivated and sold opium and heroin. How low can we go?


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Past Member (0)
Friday September 25, 2015, 11:13 pm

Heidi Aubrey (4)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 12:07 am
I really am tired of the U.S. bashing. We are supposed to be the world police, give the most in charity-I mean a lot, provide the workers for the charity(Peace Core, US Aid), donate the most in medicine(vaccines, vitamins, as well as complex surgeries for free ie. cleft palate correction, and the most food. Yet everyone hates us-but don't stop the billions in charity!

Anna Neusüss (127)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 3:09 am
This is horrific. And apparently it's not only the USA, who works on these double standards, but all troops deployed in other countries to establish 'peace'. Just watch the movie-documentary "whistleblower", inspired by the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop sent on the peace mission in Bosnia, who reveals systematic trafficking, rape and abuse on the hands of the UN troops.

In answer to Heidi Aubrey, the issue with the US might be, that they always feel they just know better and rush to conclusions and actions, that would often enough have been wiser to think through before. Americans have to learn the lesson, that their idea of democracy just doesn't include everyone else's.
Also, the strategies especially employed by American politicians to establish a hold on about everybody else - e.g.:supporting the taliban, the IS,... (before they turned on them) - never had the desired effect and it would be great if we proofed to be able to finally learn that lesson.

Sticking to one standard of (moral) rules would be a great start for all of us, if you ask me.

Roslyn McBride (28)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 3:46 am
Ignoring drugs is one thing, ignoring murder or rape is something else again.

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 3:58 am
Bacha bazi is a tribal custom that is not limited to military commanders by any means - it probably has its roots in the effect of segregated society. (Not that this justifies the practice - but perhaps puts some perspective. I doubt that the US forces have much influence on those practicing bacha bazi. It has been considered acceptable the wealthy, usually the village leaders, take a good-looking boy. The families are often happy to have a son chosen - because the boy will probably receive some education as well as training in dancing ... and local society doesn't condemn the boys so selected. There are often financial benefits, too.

In NW Pakistan, there is a growing movement to eliminate this practice - although the struggle is far from won. In Afghanistan, the years of conflict haven't created much of a context in which local society has begun to reject the tradition.

It doesn't help that when there is a "drive" against gender-based violence, abuse of boys is seldom considered: the focus is on girls and women who are victims of violence.

It is time to make a concerted effort to break down the taboos that still largely surround discussion of gender-based sexual violence against boys. It is far more widespread around the world than most people recognise .... and far harder to uncover. (Easier for Westerners to condemn it in "barbaric" third world communities than closer to home ...)

Part of the challenge is an extra factor: if girls are ashamed of having been abused, how much more so boys, who are supposed to be "strong"? To admit to having been abused is to admit to having been weak, unmasculine ......

In this Afghan situation, it is amongst the Afghans themselves that the practice has to be challenged and weeded out. Blaming the foreign military who have not refused to be allied with anyone practicing bacha bazi is really not very realistic .... (And it isn't only the US - it is anyone who works with leaders - military commanders or others. Not that every Afghan, or every Pakhtun, practices bacha bazi - many don't - but it is widespread.) Loud Western condemnation tends to have a contrary effect on the more traditional communities where this is more common.

Support Afghan human rights groups that tackle GBV - and encourage them to look wider than only violence against women & girls .... It may take a little longer, but the change would be more sustainable & would spread more widely.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 7:30 am

Dennis Hall (0)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 10:14 am

John De Avalon (36)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 10:40 am
I think its harsh to blame the US. This sort of thing has been going on for centuries. You aren't going to change things overnight.
The best we can hope for is planting a seed for the future which in time will take root and lead on to a better, kinder, more humane society.

As for drug cultivation. In theory, this one is simple.
Apparently a few years back someone hit on the idea of approaching the opium growers and offering them treble the guaranteed income for growing an alternative crop. They were happy to do this, but the governments who had promised funding for the project failed to provide the cash... So the farmers went back to growing opium poppies.
Given the harm hard drugs cause to our societies, the money would have been a worthwhile investment, a thousand times over.

Janet B (0)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 12:21 pm

Mitchell D (82)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 1:01 pm
John De Avalon, and Evelyn B. provide some valuable background on these situations. I appreciate their educating me.
It is fascinating, from an anthropological view, that the traditional separation of men and women in this culture had led to the practice of Bacha Bazi , but then why not in other similar traditionally segregated cultures?

Colleen L (3)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 1:18 pm
I agree with Mitchell's comment. Thanks Judy

Judy C (91)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 2:04 pm
Heidi, the issues highlighted in this article have nothing to do with our charitable activities, and it takes nothing away from the commendable actions of humanitarian organizations.

The article points out our using and participating in, as well as profiting from this horror show we have created in the occupation of Afghanistan. The CIA is all over the opium business, just as it has been cozy with cocaine in other countries. We don't occupy places where there are no resources we can use.

Just what is it we are purporting to do in Afghanistan? The tired excuse of fighting terrorism is a total absurdity (as it usually is).

I have read about the noxious practice of bacha bazi, and it is embedded in the culture of some tribes. Thanks to Evelyn and John for contributing information on this. I wonder if the common person in Afghanstan would view this practice as a legitimate cultural expression, or as an excuse for a bunch of rich, perverted individuals to engage inn child rape. Should we really be pussyfooting around and looking the other way when the minions we're using are engaging in this? The kinds of people we're resorting to as allies is very telling about the quality of our entire mission in Afghanistan.

Here's another thought. It's ironic that a lot of the same Americans beating the war drums and looking the other way here, are the same people who are condemning gay marriage in the U.S.. How is it OK for our military to install these warlords to head villages in Afghanistan? Where's the outrage on that?


Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 2:28 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Judy.
It seems the Afghan Onion was an excellent idea. Any way to shame this horrible "tradition" is commendable. And, thanks to John & Evelyn for the additional info.

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 5:51 pm
We need to get the hell out of there. We are doing their people nor ourselves any good by continuing to be there.

Gloria H (88)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 7:23 pm
small wonder our soldiers commit suicide. The things they must have witnessed, known about and are ordered not to speak about must be a horrible burden to keep inside.

Shirley S (187)
Saturday September 26, 2015, 9:27 pm
These age old customs that are revealed here in many care2 posts are so repugnant & it makes me realize the sheltered life that I & many others have led. One can only hope that education will eventually help to rectify these ghastly rituals.

Nicolai L (39)
Sunday September 27, 2015, 1:00 am
thanks for sharing

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday September 27, 2015, 1:02 am
Dandelion - straight to the nub of the matter - if the concern is that the military appear to be endorsing these practices ...
And in general, too - because I don't see this .... not exactly occupation, but continued presence of foreign military .... as having much real sustainable impact. I don't know if switching to UN Peace-keeping forces would be a transition to support the stabilisation of the country, but it would have a different profile to "victorious" foreign armies. Remember - Britain & Russia both tried - over & over again during some 2 centuries - to colonise Afghanistan, but they never managed! The Russians controlled the country for the longest period but that was less than 20 years! The last "successful" occupation/ colonisation was by the Moguls (Genghis Khan, then Timurlane), who then established the Mughal Empire!

About the cultivation of opium -
John has it largely right that there have been programmes promoting alternative crops.
The UN Drug Control Programme (with funding & support from the US & others) did considerable work in the opium-growing areas of North West Pakistan - & as far as they could in Taliban controlled Afghanistan - to promote alternative crops. And the actual opium growers were happy to change crop ....

BUT - it is not the GROWERS who make much money from growing opium. It is the layers of middlemen who make money.
Opium poppy growing & harvesting is hard work, but the actual growers are paid very little per kilo. I don't remember the exact land measure used - but in 1998-9, a grower produced about 2 kg of opium per (? acre? Hectare?) .... on the same land the family could produce over 100 kg of onions or potatoes ... with a market price that could give about triple the income. However - you need roads & vehicles to get the supplies to the market ... and the areas where opium is grown was markedly short of even dirt roads ... the opium produce could be carried on foot, or by donkey ..... So the programme had to include road building, as well as some irrigation systems for the fields ....

Meanwhile, the midddlemen faced major losses! And as these included the warlords / Taliban leaders who used the profits to buy the arms that ensured their control of the area ..........

Intimidation, debt cycles for the poor growers .... opium crept back. The army would come in to destroy opium fields spotted by satellite ... but then the real losers were the growers, adding to their debts & forcing them to borrow more from those who then forced them to plant more poppy.

And yes - the warlords and the wealthy are those who profit from opium production ... without touching the product themselves.

And inevitably, some - many - of those who would be accepted as village leaders would have a finger in this pie. Again - hard if not impossible to find only leaders unconnected with the opium trade in areas where the poppy grows ....

Blame also the sellers & buyers at the other end of the chain. As long as there is demand for illicit opium products, there will the a chain of people who have considerable interest in forcing farmers to grow the poppy..

Athena F (131)
Sunday September 27, 2015, 11:16 am
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