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AFP gathered testimonies from multiple Afghan families whose children were abducted for the practice of ‘bacha bazi’ -- sexual exploitation of boys. Powerful warlords, commanders, politicians and other members of the elite often keep ‘bachas’ (boys) as a symbol of authority and affluence.

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“Such victims suffer from stress and a sort of distrust, hopelessness and pessimistic feeling.

Bacha bazi results in fear among the children and a feeling of revenge and hostility develops in their mind.”In turn, many adolescent victims are said to grow up to have boy lovers of their own, repeating the cycle of abuse.“In the absence of any services to recover or rehabilitate boys who are caught in this horrendous abuse, it is hard to know what happens to these children,” said Charu Lata Hogg, a London-based fellow at Chatham House, a think-tank.“We have heard anecdotal reports that many grow up to keep their own bachas, perpetuating the revolving door of abuse.”How is it impacting Afghanistan’s security situation?

They can also be used as dancers at private parties.

Bacha bazi is not widely seen as homosexual behaviour -- popularly demonised as a deviant sexual act, prohibited in Islam -- and is largely accepted as a cultural practice. “Women are for child-rearing, boys are for pleasure” is a common saying across many parts of Afghanistan.

"Instead we ask them to treat their anxiety and adopt a healthy lifestyle."Often, another forbidden subject comes up in the discussions –- homosexuality, which is demonised as a deviant sexual behaviour, prohibited in Islam.

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