Prior to the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Afghanistan had endured decades of armed conflict during which conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) had become commonplace. Sexual violence against men and boys by the former state armed forces, including against male detainees held on national security charges, was documented, as was CRSV by armed groups, including the Taliban. CRSV also occurs widely in the context of bacha bazi, a practice involving the sexual exploitation of boys and young men, including those with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression (SOGIESC). The perpetrators are often men in positions of influence or power. Although criminalised in 2018, the practice continues.
National laws proscribing rape and sexual violence are gender-inclusive, but consensual same-sex relations remain criminalised under Afghan law. Rigid gender norms and religious fundamentalism also mean that people who do not conform to socially accepted gender roles face discrimination and violence including CRSV. Insecurity, weak rule of law, and poor health and other services contribute to widespread impunity for CRSV, and to a lack of medical care and other support for victims/survivors. Some male victims/survivors have been subjected to further sexual violence by police officers, health or other professionals to whom they have reported abuse committed against them.
A national NGO which carries out research and capacity-building activities, as well as delivering health, protection and other services to children, youth and marginalised populations in 20 provinces across Afghanistan.