Homosexual Practice Back in Kandahar
January 15, 2002
SUMMARY: Taliban rule is over in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Western
journalists have already noted that traditions of homosexuality are
Taliban rule is over in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Western journalists have
already noted that traditions of homosexuality are re-emerging.
Kandahar’s Pashtuns have started to become visible again with their
"ashna"—teenagers who are groomed for sex. Before the Taliban took
over in 1994, Pashtuns could be seen everywhere with their young boys on whom
they showered expensive gifts. Living in poverty, the boys could not refuse
Once a boy becomes the property of a Pashtun, who is usually married with a
wife and family, he is marked out. The Kandaharis, however, accept Pashtun
relationships as part of their culture. Pashtun and their ashna
"beloveds" have been part of everyday life for centuries.
"In the days of the Mujahidin, there were men with their ashna
everywhere, at every corner, in shops, on the streets, in hotels: It was
completely open, a part of life," Torjan, 38, one of the soldiers loyal
to Kandahar’s new governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, told the Times newspaper.
"They are just emerging again," Torjan said. "The fighters
too now have the boys in their barracks. This was brought to the attention of
Gul Agha, who ordered the boys to be expelled, but it continues. The boys live
with the fighters very openly. In a short time, and certainly within a year,
it will be like pre-Taliban: They will be everywhere."
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