The Rape of the Afghan Boys

The U.S. government's role in enabling Afghan pedophilia destroyed the pretense of moral legitimacy behind its delusional nation-building project.

Dancing bacha (child) and the men admiring him, drawing by Sedoff from a painting by Vereshchagin from Journey through Central Asia, 1867-1868, by Vasily Vereshchagin (DEA/Biblioteca Ambrosiana/Getty Images)

Ainuddin Khudairaham held down the trigger of his Kalashnikov and kept firing on unarmed U.S. Marines until the rifle’s magazine was empty, murdering three and wounding one. The Americans had been working out at a gym on Forward Operating Base Delhi in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when the teenaged boy attacked on Aug. 10, 2012. “I just did a jihad,” Khudairaham bragged to Afghan police afterward.

Among those cut down was Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, Jr. In 2015, The New York Times relayed the contents of his final phone call home, in which he told his father that Afghan police officers—those venerable allies of the United States—had been raping little boys on the base. “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine told his father. Buckley, Sr., encouraged his son to report the incidents, but his son demurred. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture,” he told the Times.

This Afghan cultural institution—the rape of young boys by adult men—is known as bacha bazi, or “boy play.”

The U.S. government’s role in enabling Afghan pedophilia quickly lost it even the pretense of moral legitimacy in its delusional nation-building project. Indeed, by at least 2009, the Department of Defense was aware of child sexual abuse in Afghanistan occurring on military bases. So, it found a loophole that allowed it to quietly bypass laws designed to prevent American taxpayer dollars from subsidizing the rapists of Afghan boys.

Read the rest of my story on bacha bazi in the October issue of Chronicles. It’s up for free right now, but consider getting a subscription, too. They start at $5/mo.