And in another old tradition child brides are not just girls in Afghanistan but boys as well, who are used by patriarchal warlords, police chiefs and other older men as boy brides.
Young boys are being sexually abused in Afghanistan
"Some men enjoy playing with dogs, some with women. I enjoy playing with boys," said 44-year-old Allah Daad, a one-time Mujahedin commander in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz
The practice of "bacha baazi", meaning "boy-play", is enjoying a resurgence in the North of Afghanistan where ownership is seen as a status symbol by militia leaders according to Afghan news site, e-Ariana.
While condemned by clerics and human rights groups, authorities are doing little to end it.Dancers, known as "bacha bereesh" or "beardless boys", are under 18, with 14 being the "ideal" age.
Owners or "kaatah" meet at bacha baazi parties in large halls where the boys dance late into the night, before being sexually abused.
Of course these manly he men are not gay, since there are no homosexuals in Islam. Nope of course not after all these are just boys dancing in drag.
This is not a new phenomena but a rather old one nor is it restricted to Afghanistan.
It was first reported on in the 19th Century by Sir Captain Richard Burton, who went undercover into the Hindu Kush and discovered the tradition of boy brides amongst the peoples of the region. He also discovered that British officers were using boy brides for their entertainment. His report got him summarily punished by the High Command who were embarrassed by his findings.
In revenge it is told that Burton held a dinner party and invited his commanding officers to attend. When they did they were treated to boy brides being present. Typical of Burton's rapacious wit and nasty sense of humour when the officers protested that they were scandalized by his use of boy brides, he assured them they were no such thing. He revealed they were in fact monkeys in drag.
Burton had actually worked on developing an early form of communication with the monkeys, which was lost when his collected notes and works were burnt posthumously by his widow.
Boy brides, child brides, child labour and child soldiers, the legacy of our war in Afghanistan.
It reveals the hypocrisy of the Conservatives claim we are there fighting for the rights of women and children.
This sobering image, showing a 40-year-old groom sitting beside his 11-year-old future bride in Afghanistan, brought Stephanie Sinclair top honors in the annual Photo of the Year 2007 contest sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
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