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Afghanistan Is A Cesspool, And It's Time We Left

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The New York Times published a story today about U.S. policy in Afghanistan to turn a blind eye to “bacha bazi,” or “boy play.” You see, although Afghans stone to death women for adultery and beat people to death for blasphemy, keeping young boys chained up as sex slaves is an old and respected tribal custom. And our troops have been strictly warned not to intervene when senior Afghan military and police commanders want to indulge in their taste for pederasty.

Afghanistan is not only a military quagmire in which we are pointlessly bogged down. It is a moral cesspool, and being there at all is degrading and demoralizing for our brave soldiers and it is shameful that we are propping up that country’s corrupt and morally bankrupt ruling class. Our war in Afghanistan is probably militarily unwinnable. But were we to somehow succeed we would be keeping in power a wretched gang of thieves, drug dealers, rapists, child killers and pedophiles. If the alternative to these mutts is the Taliban, I say let the Taliban have Afghanistan and be rid of that miserable excuse of a country.

The story relates how two Green Berets, Captain Dan Quinn and Sergeant Charles Martland, tried to reign in the rampant child sexual abuse in the district where they were stationed. They were horrified when they received reports that a senior Afghan police commander had raped a 14 year old girl, whom he had spotted in a field and decided to assault her. The Times’ story continues:

“Soon another commander absconded with his men’s wages. Mr. Quinn said he later heard that the commander had spent the money on dancing boys. Another commander murdered his 12-year-old daughter in a so-called honor killing for having kissed a boy. “There were no repercussions,” Mr. Quinn recalled.

In September 2011, an Afghan woman, visibly bruised, showed up at an American base with her son, who was limping. One of the Afghan police commanders in the area, Abdul Rahman, had abducted the boy and forced him to become a sex slave, chained to his bed, the woman explained. When she sought her son’s return, she herself was beaten. Her son had eventually been released, but she was afraid it would happen again, she told the Americans on the base.”

When Quinn and Martland confronted Abdul, the commander laughed in their faces. They threw him to the ground to emphasize the point that they took the allegations seriously. As a result, Quinn was relieved of his command and left the Army, and Martland is being pressured to leave as well. Their crime, as it were, was trying to stop the systematic rape of children in their district, and being insufficiently sensitive to the dignity of a child rapist, albeit a child rapist with high police rank.

Before our occupation of the country, Afghanistan was governed by the Taliban, a backward, vicious bunch of religious fanatics who overthrew a criminally corrupt, vicious, backward government of warlords. Now we’re back to another criminally corrupt, vicious, backward government, except now the corruption is hyper-fueled by massive sums of U.S. aid money. Before the Taliban, a corrupt government minister could maybe buy a used Mercedes. Now he can buy a multi-million dollar villa in a fashionable neighborhood in Dubai, thanks to the U.S. taxpayer.

The government in Kabul is losing the war, and is doomed to fall to the Taliban when as our troops depart. The Taliban are brutal, savage fanatics determined to re-impose their medieval Islamicist theocracy on Afghanistan. That will be an unfortunate outcome for many decent people in that country. But they themselves have shown little will to resist Taliban rule. And in the meantime, we’re there spending American treasure and sacrificing infinitely more precious American blood to prop up a bunch of child rapists and grubbily greedy government ministers.

It’s time to go. Our only presence in Afghanistan should be regular B-52 overflights to remind the Taliban of the consequences of harboring terrorists, as they did Osama bin Laden before 9-11.

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