Sexual Abuse of over 500 boys in Afghanistan; probe begins

  • Afghanistan AG has ordered a detailed probe regarding the alleged sexual abuse of more than 500 boys
  • Out of shame, 5 families killed their victimized sons after their faces went viral on social media
Sexual Abuse of over 500 boys in Afghanistan. Picture courtesy Facebook
Sexual Abuse of over 500 boys in Afghanistan. Picture courtesy Facebook

Afghanistan Attorney General has ordered a detailed probe regarding the alleged sexual abuse of more than 500 boys in the Logar province of Afghanistan.

A few months back during an investigation by the Human rights activists from the Logar province in Afghanistan discovered that more than 500 boys from six schools were sexually abused by teachers, head-teachers, and other government authorities.

Some victims were even murdered reportedly ever since some videos were discovered on Facebook regarding the abuse.

Five families on receiving the news of sexual abuse, out of shame, killed their victimized sons after their faces were seen on the videos posted on the social media platform. Two other boys aged 13 and 15 years were also killed, but the murderers are still at loose.

The Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution, A Civil Society Organization, which has been working for over 16 years in the Logar province, revealed the extent of the child abuse after discovering more than 100 videos posted on Facebook.

A spokesperson from the Attorney General’s office has said that a committee has been appointed, and they are in the process of running a comprehensive and impartial investigation.

In November 2019, British daily The Guardian reported on the abuse involving members of the parliament and Civil Society led to a world-wide outcry, following which Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education launched an investigation.

The investigation carried out by The Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution members Mohammed Mussa and Ehsanullah Hamidi revealed that more than 1000 children might have been abused.  Mohammed Mussa accused teachers,      head-teacher, and local government authority officials who were implicated in the abuse ring.

They carried out interviews of victimized boys aged from 14-20 and found out that the abuse took place in relatively secure areas, and they coordinate in a group. Official members are present to avoid legal actions.

A Ministry of Education spokesperson Nooria Nazhat said: “If there is a complaint about our staff, the judicial authorities are responsible for investigating it. If a teacher misbehaves, the teacher is punished according to the law … Detecting crime and investigating it is not the task of the Ministry of Education. We have 220,000 teachers – we can’t check on all of their lives.”

Students from one of the six schools said the headteacher had built a private room in the school’s library, where he molested male students after school and on weekends. The headteacher was even fired from his post, but now he holds a position in the Ministry of Education. Students also reported that some teachers would even blackmail students of failing them and then demand sexual services in return for passing grade. Often students from the poor backgrounds were targeted the most.  According to Mussa, few cases were reported to the police, but the perpetrators were released shortly. According to the investigation carried out by Mussa and his Hamidi, students were even forced to sell drugs or engage in other illegal activities in exchange for their rape videos not to be released.

Right after this investigation came out, Mussa and Hamidi started receiving death threats. On November 21, 2019, they were even picked up by the National Directorate of Security (Afghanistan’s intelligence agency) when they were on their way to meet the EU ambassador in Kabul. There was a general international outcry demanding the release of the Human Rights activists. Reacting to the incident, former US ambassador John Bass tweeted that such “Soviet-style” tactics of coercing confessions were “appalling”. European Parliament called for a transparent investigation.  On November 26th The NDS revealed that they had taken the men into protective custody. NDS is notoriously known for arbitrary detention and torture. Following the incident, NDS released a video showing Mussa and Hamidi clearly under distress apologizing for their research and saying they were incomplete and inaccurate. Detaining Human Rights activists itself is a crime. Later President Ashraf Ghani ordered their release. Currently, both Mohammed Mussa and Ehsanullah Hamidi have left Afghanistan with their families for security reasons.

Abuse of small boys in Afghanistan is widespread and is known as bacha bazi (boys for play). The victims are traumatized to the extent that they refrain from informing their families as they might be killed for bringing shame to the family. Most of the victims suffer from PTSD, blaming them for the situation. They might get involved in violent acts and even perpetration of sexual abuse. One problem has been pointed out that due to the lack of women civil rights workers, these boys cannot speak up to their trauma. Several families and activists linked to the Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution, have left the province for security reasons.

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