It was the religious elders of the Reis Shura Ulema in Afghanistan who initially apprised me of the practice of Bacha Bazi, where young boys are made to dance and then exploited sexually by the police.
Contrary to mass assumption, the U.S. goal is not to achieve stability in Afghanistan as much as it is to maintain control -- control via a client regime that can best serve Western economic and security concerns.
President Karzai recently threatened that he may join the Taliban. I think he badly needs to do that because his corrupt and inefficient government has already been helping in strengthening the Taliban.
Couple the lack of security with the media coverage of the war on terror, and it becomes difficult to connect to the real Afghanistan today. That mkes connecting communities and cultures more important than ever.
The root of street art is Freedom. Expression. A voice. A point of view. Youth culture has always been rooted in these ideals. But the youth in Afghanistan have grown up under the darkness of the Taliban.
Few in the U.S. notice the stimulus package in Kabul, Islamabad, Baghdad, and elsewhere is going great guns. Nowhere is it clear that Washington is committed to packing up its tents, abandoning its billion-dollar monuments, and coming home.
Put yourself in the place of an Afghan. When you see photographs of Karzai's men stuffing ballot boxes, and a U.S. president telephones to congratulate him on his victory, while admitting the election was "messy," what are you to make of it?