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In the News The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan
December 5, 2010
VIEW: An excerpt from FRONTLINE's undercover report last season, "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan." The clip offers unique background on bacha bazi, an ancient practice in which young boys dressed in women's clothing are trained to dance and entertain men. It's widely acknowledged that the boys, sold by their families to wealthy merchants, warlords and military commanders, are often sexually exploited.
Wikileaks' November 2010 release of diplomatic documents includes a U.S. embassy cable detailing Kabul's concerns about private security firms after a 2009 incident in which employees of the private contracting firm DynCorp bought drugs and hired dancing boys for the entertainment of Afghan police they were responsible for training in the province of Kunduz. (See the Guardian's report.)
View the full FRONTLINE program and learn more about the world of bacha bazi on the website.
In August, President Hamid Karzai alarmed many when he issued a decree ordering all private security firms out of the country by the end of the year, a ban that since has been softened. Wikileaks' release of the cable on DynCorp also follows the October release of a report [PDF] by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee detailing concerns about how the role and lack of oversight of private security contractors in Afghanistan are jeopardizing U.S. goals in the region. (Check out "Private Warriors" FRONTLINE's in- depth report on the Iraq war and the dangers in bringing in private contractors to support and prosecute the war.)