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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is expected to sign a formal agreement with the United Nations on Sunday to stop the recruitment of children into its police forces and ban the common practice of boys being used as sex slaves by military commanders, according to Afghan and United Nations officials.
The effort by Afghanistan’s international backers to rapidly expand the country’s police and military forces has had the unintended consequence of drawing many under-age boys into service, the officials conceded.
Stung by Afghanistan’s inclusion on the United Nations’ blacklist of countries where child soldiers are commonly used, like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, government leaders are expected to sign an undertaking with Radhika Coomaraswamy, the secretary general’s special representative for children and armed conflict, during her visit to Kabul on Sunday, the officials said.
With the agreement on an action plan to combat the problem, the government will for the first time officially acknowledge the problem of child sex slaves. As part of the Afghan tradition of bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” boys as young as 9 are dressed as girls and trained to dance for male audiences, then prostituted in an auction to the highest bidder. Many powerful men, particularly commanders in the military and the police, keep such boys, often dressed in uniforms, as constant companions for sexual purposes. Read the remainder of this entry »
Mercs Win Billion Dollar Afghan Cop Deal…..Again.
By Spencer Ackerman
December 21, 2010
The solution for Afghanistan’s endlessly troubled police force? According to the Army, the same contractors that have trained them for the past seven years.
Danger Room has confirmed that DynCorp, one of the leading private-security firms, has held on to a contract with the Army worth up to $1 billion for training Afghanistan’s police over the next three years. With corruption, incompetence and illiteracy within the police force a persistent obstacle to turning over security responsibilities to the cops by 2014, NATO has revamped much of its training efforts — except, apparently, the contractors paid lavishly to help them out.
The details: DynCorp will provide security personnel to train the Afghan cops at 14 different locations across the country. Those trainers will support the NATO training command run out of Kabul by Lt. Gen. William Caldwell in getting the police into an “independently functioning entity capable of providing for the national security of Afghanistan,” the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command says in the award. The contract runs for two years and earns DynCorp $718.1 million, but an option to re-up for a third year brings the total price to $1.04 billion. Read the remainder of this entry »
The April 11, 2009 incident of DynCorp and their “dancing boys” was fist published by The Washington Post in July 2009. It wasn’t until Wikileaks published a State Department cable (PDF) between U.S. Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli and Afghanistan Minister of Interior (MoI) Hanif Atmar that things started getting ugly for DynCorp. After the State Department memo was made public, The Guardian in the UK was the first to publish anything on it. Based on that article MsSparky.com we published a post on Dec 3. David Isenberg published his article in the HuffingtonPost on Dec 6. After that point the main stream media and other bloggers jumped on board and started publicizing this highly offensive behavior.
I guess I’m not surprised that DynCorp has steadfastly denied any wrong doing and just chalked it up to “poor judgment” on the part of their employees regarding their “dancing boy” incident in Afghanistan. To top it all off, the State Department has jumped into the prevarication with them.
I totally understand that DynCorp Corporate can not have total control over every decision their managers make around the world. Managers are going to make poor decisions. It just happens. What aggravates me and what most people find disturbing are the attempts to “spin” the facts of the incident into something totally innocuous.
Below is an email communication from DynCorp Chief Compliance Officer Joe Kale to DynCorp employees. I’m going to point out the “spin” in Mr. Kale’s communication. My comments are in bold BLUE italics. Read the remainder of this entry »
WikiLeaks: DynCorp Responds To Dancing Boys Scandal
John Nova Lomax – December 9, 2010 – In the wake of our story about DynCorp’s ill-fated Afghan dance party, DynCorp’s vice president of communications Ashley Vanarsdall Burke has sent in an official response.
The company says that there was no truth to the allegation made in the headline ““Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops” or several other allegations made in official cables from the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan that were publicized by WikiLeaks.
We were taken to task for not contacting them first and then Burke laid out the “facts” as the company sees them.
Burke stated that “a handful of individuals were found to have exercised extremely poor judgment and acted inappropriately. It is important to note, however, that the inaccurate and bizarre allegations contained in your story are false and recklessly irresponsible.”
What really happened, according to Burke, was this:
As part of an employee’s going away party, a 17 year old local Afghan dancer who performed at local events such as weddings and other celebrations, was hired to perform a traditional Afghan dance. Recognizing that the situation was culturally insensitive, a site manager stopped the performance. Despite the fact that the performance was stopped, the situation was investigated. What was determined was that the leadership of the team exhibited poor judgment and were subsequently terminated. That is the whole story; no alcohol or drugs were involved, or other illegal behaviors occurred.”
I have been following and researching this deplorable bacha bazi “dancing boys” custom in Afghanistan since I learned of it. I published an article a couple of days ago after a article in the UK came out. Where’s the main stream media on Dyncorp’s Dancing Boys and repeated trafficking in persons offenses? Where’s the outrage from our politicians? Where is the outrage from Secretary Clinton, President Obama? Where is the outrage from US citizens? I say “Thank God for Wikileaks!” We would have never known about this contractor perversion otherwise! Thank God for The Huffington Post and reporters like David Isenberg!~ Ms Sparky
David Isenberg Author, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq
Posted: December 6, 2010 08:47 AM
For an example of how just one transgression can lead to endless bad publicity consider the movie titled The Whistleblower that was released earlier this year. To summarize the plot, in Bosnia in 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac, a U.S. policewoman served as a U.N. peacekeeper. Her post was with the International Police Task Force which was arranged by DynCorp Aerospace. She was assigned to run the IPTF office that investigates sex trafficking, domestic abuse and sexual assault. She ultimately alleges that peacekeepers, U.N. workers and international police are visiting brothels and facilitating sex trafficking by forging documents and aiding the illegal transport of woman into Bosnia. DynCorp responds by firing Bolkovac, who returns to the U.S. and files a wrongful termination case. She wins the suit but says she’s still blacklisted.
Put bluntly, DynCorp was involved in a sex slavery scandal in Bosnia in 1999, with its employees accused of rape and the buying and selling of girls as young as 12. Dyncorp, hired to perform police duties for the UN and aircraft maintenance for the US Army, were implicated in prostituting the children, whereas the company’s Bosnia site supervisor filmed himself raping two women. A number of employees were transferred out of the country, but with no legal consequences for them. Read the remainder of this entry »