Afghanistan — “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” Gregory Buckley, Sr. recalled his son telling him shortly before he was shot to death on base in southern Afghanistan in 2012.
Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. was distressed about the ongoing sexual abuse by Afghan police of boys brought back to base.
“My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture”
Once again, organized sexual abuse of children has returned to Afghanistan as an acceptable and even expected practice; and the problem is so pervasive it has a name — bacha bazi — literal translation: “boy play.”
Bacha bazi is an ancient practice where powerful and wealthy businessmen and military commanders exploit orphans and boys they ‘purchase’ from village families whom they train to dress in women’s clothes to sing and dance — and become their sexual slaves — for personal entertainment. And Marines and other U.S. troops are not permitted to stop the abuse or say anything about it — even when it occurs inside a military base.
According to the New York Times, “The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.”