Dancing Boys and the Moral Dilemmas of Military Missions: The Practice of Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan
Since there is a remarkable lack of gender-specific data on sexual violence toward men in the international military operations literature, our aim is to contribute to the discourse on the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine, concentrating on gender-based violence toward boys in the armed conflict in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, large sections of vulnerable civilians are exposed to moral dangers, including sexual violence, which can be explained by the complete collapse of the state and society after decades of war. The focus in this chapter is on how Dutch military personnel act when faced with sexual violence regarding young boys, having the responsibility to protect and at the same time also having to maintain good relations with their local partners. First, we describe a number of theoretical notions. Secondly, we examine the background of bacha bazi in Afghanistan and the Dutch and international guidelines regarding bacha bazi. Finally, we discuss what Dutch military personnel did when faced with bacha bazi and give a number of recommendations for future international missions.