Afghanistan: bad governance means sodomising children

Patrick Cockburn knows Afghanistan well, and does not whitewash anything.

The shadow Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, argued in The Independent on Sunday a few days ago that though “corruption and establishing good governance” are not unimportant, “we need to recognise that Afghan governance is likely to look very different from governance as we know it in the West”. Leaving aside the patronising tone of the statement, this shows that Mr Fox fundamentally misunderstands what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan. Corruption and mismanagement do not just mean that the police are on the take or that no contract is awarded without a bribe. It is much worse than that. For instance, one reason Afghan villagers prefer to deal with the Taliban rather than the government security forces is that the latter have a habit of seizing their sons at checkpoints and sodomising them.

None of our business is what Mr Fox, who may be British Defence Secretary by this time next year, would presumably say. We are not in Afghanistan for the good government of Afghans: “Our troops are not fighting and dying in Afghanistan for Karzai’s Government, nor should they ever be.” But the fact that male rape is common practice in the Afghan armed forces has, unfortunately, a great deal to do with the fate of British soldiers.

There was a horrified reaction across Britain last week when a 25-year-old policeman called Gulbuddin working in a police station in the Nad Ali district of Helmand killed five British soldiers when he opened fire with a machine gun on them. But the reason he did so, according to Christina Lamb in The Sunday Times, citing two Afghans who knew Gulbuddin, was that he had been brutally beaten, sodomised and sexually molested by a senior Afghan officer whom he regarded as being protected by the British.

The slaughter at Nad Ali is a microcosm of what is happening across Afghanistan. It is why Mr Fox is wrong and Mr Eikenberry is right about the dangers of committing more American or British troops regardless of the way Afghanistan is ruled. Nor are the events which led to the deaths of the young British soldiers out of the ordinary. Western military officials eager to show success in training the Afghan army and police have reportedly suppressed for years accounts from Canadian troops that the newly trained security forces are raping young boys.

The Independent on the leaked report from the US ambassador in Kabul advising against sending more troops.

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Comments
One Response to “Afghanistan: bad governance means sodomising children”
  1. Marym says:

    actually this is very shamfull for the brish solders to do some thing eligal, they are solders they have to safe the people lifes (is this the training and culture of british to its solders) then why we condemn terrorests for their actions….

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