Since I started blogging back in 2004, one the topics I’ve covered pretty extensively is the abuse and neglect of children.  I’ve covered topics where I thought children were exploited in our consumer culture, children were abused or neglected by their parents or stories in which parenting is supplanted by the government.  I rarely touch on what happens to children outside of the US for one reason or the other.  But the fact remains that many children from Africa, Asia and South America would gladly change places with their counterparts in here American if given the opportunity given the horrors they’ve suffered.  One of those places in which children are the victims of rape and forced drug abuse is Afghanistan.


The big topic this week on Meet the Press centered on what the next steps are in Afghanistan now that General McChrystal is out and General David Patraeus is in.  Some on the panel wanted to end the “occupation” as soon as possible; others realized that if we pull out now or even next year, Al Qaeda will reenter the area and 10 years of work would have been for nothing.  And of course there were the obligatory shots at the Iraq War and a call to end dependence on foreign oil.


However, one comment really jumped out and surprised me.  I’ve been of the opinion that we need to be in Afghanistan for 50 years given the fact that unlike Iraq, most of Afghanistan is still stuck in the 5th century.  The only comment I’ve ever agreed on with Janeane Garofalo with is that Karzai is more like the mayor of Kabul than he is the president of Afghanistan.  That being said, until both roads and a sense of nationalism bond the country, there’s no winning this war per se.  We can only be goalies essentially keeping out the Taliban and Al Qaeda with a clock that runs forever (or until we’re broke and can’t afford to be there).  So when Mr. Rick stated that following, “I remember reading an interview with an Afghan villager.  The reporter said to him, “What did you think of the Taliban vs. what did you think of the police sent by Kabul?” He said, “Well, the Taliban were pretty mean to us; they were pretty rough.  We didn’t like them.  But when the police from Kabul came, the first thing they did was take our little boys and rape them.” You’ve got to deal with this Afghan government.  Our biggest single problem in Afghanistan is not the Taliban.  They are a consequence of our problem.  Our problem in Afghanistan is the Kabul government.”


The issue with the government is obvious and is the reason why I stated we needed to be there for more like 50 years than 10 years.  The issue that gets little press and certainly needs some focus is what he said about the Afghan boys.  After doing a little research, I found a news report by CNN that deals with this issue is a little more detail.

According to Care2, a human rights organization, “A United Nations report on bacha bazi found many are members of the government. Police told the documentary reporter that people who participate in bacha bazi will be punished no matter how powerful they are. But later, camera’s find that same policeman at a bacha bazi party himself. Especially disturbing is the fact that the Chief of the Youth Crime Department was there, as well.


Buying and selling children, and sex acts with children, are illegal, but because such powerful people participate in bacha bazi, it’s extremely difficult to enforce the laws. After the documentary exposing the world of the dancing boys was released, some of the men featured in it were arrested. But soon after, they were back on the streets and practicing bacha bazi again.”


Allegedly before the US invasion of Afghanistan, there was little to no farming of poppy, the plant that is used to make heroin, morphine and oxycodone, more commonly known as the brand name Oxycontin.  Now we know of course that since then poppy farming has exploded and heroin is more widely available than it was before, especially in Europe.  Unfortunately, Afghanistan isn’t just acting as a supplier, it’s, “gettin’ high off its own supply.”


The AP reports that [there are], “Drug addicts as young as a month old. Mothers who calm their children by blowing opium smoke in their faces. Whole communities hooked on heroin with few opportunities for treatment.


Use of opiates such as heroin and opium has doubled in Afghanistan in the last five years, the U.N. said Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Afghans turn to drugs to escape the misery of poverty and war.


Nearly 3 percent of Afghans aged 15 to 64 are addicted to opiates, according to a study by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. The U.N. defines addicts as regular users.


That puts Afghanistan, along with Russia and Iran, as the top three countries for opiate drug use worldwide, according to Sarah Waller, an official of the U.N.’s drug office in Kabul. She said a 2005 survey found about 1.4 percent of Afghan adults were opiate addicts.”


When you have situation where children are raped and fed drugs on a seemingly ongoing basis, can there ever be victory?  How can the US leave Afghanistan to its people when entire generations of Afghani citizens are being traumatized and ruined?  Maybe it’s just me but when I see large portions of children being treated this way with no end in site, I don’t see much in the way of hope.  I do however see an entire new pool of terrorist recruits.  What do these kids have to live for?  We will be hard pressed to win any war on terror while abuse like this takes place.  These kids will be lured to any number of terrorist groups and told the reason why you were raped, sold into sex slavery and fed drugs is because the great Satan, the US, invaded your country.  Obviously that will be a gross over simplification of events but do you think the kid is going to care?


I’m not one to wave the white flag around so easily but until the situation with Afghan kids gets addressed in a serious way, there’s no way to win there.


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