Noor was an old Pathan man in his late sixties. He used to be tall and muscular in his younger days and had a long flowing beard which he coloured red for some reason. Noor was a Pathan warrior alright. He had fought in the Great Afghan War with the Soviet Union and had been a foot soldier alongside the great Osama Bin Laden. Noor specialised in making fuses for bombs and was very handy with the AK-47 as well as the surface-to-air missile launchers. Yes, this was an Afghan warrior of the highest quality. He took pride in taking part in the great wars.
Noor soon switched allegiance to the Ahmad Shah Massoud side. He did it only for the money as a quality warrior like him was in huge demand in those days. Being part of the Afghan societies and well-versed in the traditions of the Taliban, Noor considered himself a devout Muslim. He prayed five times a day, ate alongside his fellow soldiers and slept in mud houses with no water or electricity for most of his life. Noor wore a dark grey Pathan suit and tied a blue turban which was his trademark attire.
He had won many battles with his grit and intelligence. Blowing the Russian food supply vehicles was his favourite pass-time. He could also be very cruel. Once, he chased wounded Russian soldiers in an open jeep and then fired on them with his AK-47. Noor was known as the Mad Man of Kandahar. He, however, had no family. His wife died early with yellow fever and he had no children. Now in his late sixties, he could be seen in the many cafes and sidewalks of outer Kabul telling the tales of his valour during the Great Afghan War. At times, he would recite a bit of poetry from Rumi. Someone would feed him dinner or help him with a smoke. Our man Noor was looked after by his admirers.
“You know Osama, he was educated in America. He used to sleep with white women but he got touched by Allah! When he was refurbishing the mosques of Medina, his father, the great Sheikh, asked him to do the job. That was when Osama was transformed. He became a warrior that day.” Noor told his audience who had gathered around to hear his stories. “That man, Mullah Omar, ah, he is brave and does magic. He can only see from one eye as he lost it while fighting Russian soldiers, but he still kept firing at them even with one eye gone.” Noor took a swipe at his long beard and had a sip of Afghan tea. He chewed on some soft dates in the plate and looked at his audience for a reaction.
Noor’s hut was always desolate. He had a few goats tied in the backyard with some chicken plucking away at the walls of the mud hut. The region was barren and full of rocks and stones. This was a rough terrain but it was Noor Miya’s home. He would request the local people to fetch him water from time to time. Noor would be seen most afternoon resting by his hut chanting a prayer and counting beads with his holy mala (string of beads). He had no possessions of his own and now, he was also running out of reasons to live for. After the Great Afghan War was over, life took an anti-climactic turn for Noor Miya. He had no motivation or purpose to go on for.
The Afghan society was run by the Taliban as the governors in Kabul was weak. The Taliban brought with them their own course and rigid interpreter of the Islamic faith to the people of Afghanistan. The women were beaten if they did not wear a hijab or go to school. Young boys were coaxed and coerced into the dark tradition of Bacha Bazi. Some even later trained to be suicide bombers who would blow themselves up in front of key military targets. This old Afghan tradition exists even today where young boys are sold to the flesh trade of Bacha Bazi. These boys are made to then sing and dance wearing woman’s clothes at parties, weddings and local functions. They say the money is good and can take care of their entire family by this profession. The aristocracy and the strong warlords of the region encourage these acts and traditions in spite of strict laws in Afghanistan for having sex with minor boys. This tradition still exists and is relished. People make home videos as Afghan men kiss and fondle these boys in live dance parties.
“Noor Miya, you are old now, not much use to yourself let alone others. So what will you do, old man? For how long will you tell stories of your valour in the Afghan wars? The Russians left decades ago and you are still stuck in time. I have a job for you. You make good money also.” Shah explained to Noor in a stern tone. “Bacha Bazi, you will get good money in it. You can live like a king. After all, with your experience of recruiting young lucid bombers for Ahmed Shah Masood, you are already trained in seducing young boys ha.” He laughed aloud and had a sip of his tea as he said that. “But it is against Allah!” Noor tried to plead. “What if it is? In old Afghan and Samarkand traditions, even in the Catholic, they like to play with young boys. We are only entertaining people.” Shah said this and left as if to say that was his final offer.
Noor took out his hookah and sat down to smoke some hash. What a man has to do to live in Afghanistan. As if old age was not enough, he had to now pimp for little children in order to eat, drink and live. Was not war a better or nobler an option? At least, he had stories to tell about his heroics. But what will he tell people now that he was supplying kids to be made into sex toys for the strong warlords of Afghanistan so that they could entertain themselves? With the changing times, morals and values also change. After all, this was a crime in Afghanistan even though the police were finding it tough to impose the law in the land. Bacha Bazi is a sick tradition and has been condoned by all civil societies of the world but it still exists in Afghanistan. There are videos and stories on the internet highlighting its dark side. Little kids are being used as sex slaves in a deeply traditional Islamic land.
Noor was now an evangelist of this tradition and did it because he wanted a reason to live and survive.
“You read Quran?” Noor asked Ahmed who was 12 years old, a little boy with blue eyes and pink lips. He had not reached puberty yet, not even his voice had cracked. “Ji Hozoor, I also play football.”
“Tell me you like music and dance. I buy you some new clothes from the market. Come with me.” He took Ahmed to the market and then brought him to the hut where he wore a dress like a dancing girl. “Now dance. Dance, boy, dance.” Noor Miya clapped his hands and made the boy dance to his tune. Ahmed was uncomfortable. This was an odd request by his uncle but he did it anyway. After feeding Ahmed with sheep meat and bread, he let the kid go.
This angel will be my shagird (pupil) and I will train him for Bacha Bazi. After all, he is also abandoned. His father is no more tied in the Great War and the kid was aimless in life.
This is a fictional story on the Dark Afghanistan Tradition of Bacha Bazi. It is meant to spread awareness about the dark side of child trafficking and sexual abuse of children. We urge all international lawmakers to help stop this in the name of tradition.