Taliban Rulebook Forbids Hanky Panky With Beardless Boys
By Noah Michelson
Some dos and don’ts from the bestselling (well, free,
really…) A Book of Rules, published by the Taliban in the original
Pashto-language and available at all reputable insurgent bookstores in
Afghanistan. “Receiving money for prisoner’s release is forbidden.” “Smoking is
strictly forbidden for Mujahideen.” “If someone gets the death penalty for his
crime, he will be killed with gunshot and making video of the event is
forbidden.” “The Martyrdom seeker must be well-trained prior to attack.”
“Mujahideen have to avoid company of the youngsters without having beard,
specially keeping them in camps.” “If there is no danger, Mujahideen should say
their prayers in…” Now just lets back up there, a little … right to the bit
about the beardless boys. And yes, it is pretty much exactly what you’re
The tradition of “bacha bereesh” -- a boy without a beard-- is deep-rooted in parts of Afghanistan, with the beautiful youngsters recruited
often through trickery or allegedly by force, to dance for wealthy (male) patrons.
The men are into “bacha bazi”, which translates as “boy-play.” The boys are
typically 14-18 years old, but skewed towards the 14 rather than the 18.
Dressed in women’s clothes, the dancers provide the entertainment at parties
where, sex segregation is otherwise the norm. At the end of the night, the boys
are often shared among their patrons’ friends, and sometimes are sold on. As a
practice, it’s been impossible to stamp out, and even back in 2007, the famous
previous Taliban “Rule Number 19” specified that fighters must not take young
boys without facial hair into their private quarters.
Clearly, some rules are being broken regularly enough to
worry the Taliban that their behavior will not help win hearts and minds in
the territory they’re occupying.
(Translation provided by the NEFA Foundation, which scrutinizes news
worldwide to monitor possible terrorist threats and status.)
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