Hardly anyone noticed, but the Afghan government cut the budget for the state's
Nowhere on earth is the work of a human-rights commission more important than in
By that standard,
Grim statistics open the story of
From there they become fodder for adults who beat, rape and torture them as a matter of routine. And these are the people for whom nearly 2,000 American soldiers have given their lives. This is the country on which
War is part of the problem, of course. The Taliban routinely use children as young as 3 years old as human shields, placing them directly in the line of fire. And many thousands of children are orphaned when their parents are killed in battle. They're sent to orphanages where they are subject to "mental, physical and sexual abuse; were sometimes trafficked and did not always have access to running water, winter heating, indoor plumbing, health services, recreational facilities or education," the
You'd think children who actually live with their parents would attend school. One thing the U.S. and
But, no, in a country where three-quarters of the adults are illiterate, education doesn't count for much. So about one-third of the nation's elementary-school-age children, more than 1 million of them,
When they are pulled out of work, it's usually so their parents can use them for something else. Yes, a few are sent to jail, but in other cases a court can order a defendant found guilty of harming someone else to provide his daughter, no matter how young, as compensation to the victim, the Afghan human-rights commission reported. You can image what the victim does with that little girl when he gets her home.
And then, 60 percent of the nation's girls are married off before they reach age 16. Once married, most every male in the extended family gets in bed with her, like it or not. Other girls are traded away without marriage. Rather than paying a dowry, parents often give their little girls, 6 or 7 years old, as a "gift."
Afghan law makes clear the nation's view of sex with children. Adult pornography is strictly illegal. But child pornography -- well, there's no law against that. And girls are not the only victims.
A better known outrage (I and others have written about it before) has been in play for centuries. Afghan men take boys as young as 8 years old as lovers. Among the Pashtun,
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