HTTAF6 - Human Terrain Team AF-6's report on Pushtun Sexuality in Afghanistan.
The Human Terrain Team AF-6, assigned to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion and co-located with British forces in Lashkar Gah, has been requested by these forces to provide insight on Pashtun cultural traditions regarding male sexuality for reasons of enhanced baseline cultural understanding for improved interaction as well as any IO applicability.While attempting to be objective, this can be very difficult for some of the women in the field. Not because of the way they are treated, but because of the way they see the children being perverted.
- A culturally-contrived homosexuality (significantly not termed as such by its practitioners) appears to affect a far greater population base then some researchers would argue is attributable to natural inclination.
- Some of its root causes lie in the severe segregation of women, the prohibitive cost of marriage within Pashtun tribal codes, and the depressed economic situation into which young Pashtun men are placed.
- Other root causes include a long-standing cultural tradition in which boys are appreciated for physical beauty and apprenticed to older men for their sexual initiation. The fallout of this pattern of behavior over generations has a profound impact on Pashtun society and culture.
- Homosexuality is strictly prohibited in Islam, but cultural interpretations of Islamic teaching prevalent in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan tacitly condone it in comparison to heterosexual relationships in several contexts.
- Pashtun men are freer with companionship, affection, emotional and artistic expression, and the trust bred of familiarity with other men. They often lack the experience of these aspects of life with women.
- This usurping of the female role may contribute to the alienation of women over generations, and their eventual relegation to extreme segregation and abuse.
It seems the cycle begins in isolation from the experience of women's companionship and the replacement of such companionship with men. Significantly, in the case of Taliban madrasas, many boys spend their formative years without even the influence of motherhood in their lives. Women are foreign, and categorized by religious teachers as, at best, unclean or undesirable. It is then probable that the male companionship that a boy has known takes a sinister turn, in the form of the expression of pedophilia from the men that surround him. Such abuse would most likely result in a sense of outrage or anger, but anger that can not possibly be directed at the only source of companionship and emotional support a boy knows, and on which he remains dependent. This anger may very well be then directed at the foreign object—women—resulting in the misogyny typical of Pashtun Islamism. Men and boys therefore remain the object of affection and security for these boys as they grow into men themselves, and the cycle is repeated.
 While researchers may argue whether this can rightly be termed abusive when seen through a lens from within the culture, it is not arguable that it involves a great imbalance of power and/or authority to the disadvantage of the boy involved. (For information regarding the sexual exploitation of boys as part of Taliban and private militia indoctrination of pre-teen fighters, see the New York Times article by Craig Smith regarding “Warlords and Pedophilia” and the Reuters article “Afghan Boy Dancers Sexually Abused by Former Warlords”—both referenced in “Further Reading.”)
 This is often due to orphanhood or family separation because of refugee circumstances.
 At worst, women are categorized by such leaders as associated with evil—not unlike many Christian teachings over the years, emphasizing Eve's role in man's downfall.
The noise of the children caught the attention of our American interpreter, who returned and scolded them for their behavior. He attempted to shame them by asking “is this the way you would behave at home?” The oldest boy proudly answered that it was, indicating that his mother and sisters were treated with the same violence and disdain. While the encounter with the father hurt my wrist, the encounter with his sons broke my heart -- From HTT Personal Field Notes dated 15 May 2009.You see - it's not Gay Sex that's forbidden - that's allowed, as long as it's the rape of children. It's Gay Love that is anathema.
Commander Suzdal, you're needed.