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Taliban violence, their devalued females and the tragedy of the bacha bazis PART-1

Taliban, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Bacha Bazis


Taliban violence, their devalued females and the tragedy of the bacha bazis PART-1

The Taliban and all the other jihadi groups, be they Al Qaeda or the Islamic State – Khorasan, share in the abuse of the female and by extension the child.

The following is excerpted and updated from a documented essay originally published in HZS C2 Diary November 2021 by its internationally renowned founding editor United States Ret. Brig. Gen. John Galatas, M.D.


In the next five installments at BLiTZ I will offer a novel analysis showing why it is so complicated to speak about the empowerment of women without acknowledging the role of the unconscious in the family dynamics concerning the maternal bond. The Taliban and all the other jihadi groups, be they Al Qaeda or the Islamic State – Khorasan, share in the abuse of the female and by extension the child. By taking a look at one problem with regard to Afghanistan, namely the bacha bazis, (lit. boy-play) the dancing boys, the abused raped boys, a better understanding of the fragile mental instability of all involved will be brought into focus. It is strongly emphasized here that the mother is not to be blamed because she was once a chronically abused little female who became a mother at all too young an age.

We call upon all Member States to strongly commit to ensure that women have a seat at every table, that they are heard and that they can contribute to find solutions and prevent conflict. Only then, can we have a peaceful and equal society. Ambassador Yusuf


We are committed to taking into account the experiences of women and girls, both living in conflict zones but also in peace and stability, and to always include a gender perspective, recognizing the unique impact different situations may have on women and girls.”

Abdulkarim Bucheeri of Bahrain

Part I Bonding

Bonding is the social glue of a society. The first bond in life is with the mother who is the baby’s first cultural interpreter. Through the maternal bond (primary care giver) the baby enters the world of the social. The neuroscientist Van Rymenant has estimated that 95% of thinking falls outside of conscious awareness. Unconscious behavior concerning the nature of the maternal bond has not been adequately factored into an understanding of sex, geopolitics and its violence, especially for Afghanistan. Like artificial intelligence, psychoanalysis plumbs the unconscious. Hence a psychoanalytic focus on the problem of violence within Afghan society with regard to shaming practices, the female and her children, in particular the bacha bazis reveals how a “nation who fails its women fails.” By paying closer attention to patterns of bonding in its multiple forms: social, traumatic bonding and maternal attachment jihadi violence can be better understood yielding more thoughtful analyses and realistic strategies with regard to such engrained violence as well as promoting efforts for women empowerment.


Shaming and the soul murder of a child

Afghanistan is a shame honor society composed of its diverse cultures and the dominant Islamic religion. A shame honor culture is “a nice way” to cover up psychologically damaging shaming practices that constitute soul murder of children. The emotion of shaming is used to manipulate and control the other. Shaming also involves at times acting out violently through use of physical force and bullying. Where there is physical contact, there is “bonding.”

The entire shame honor enterprise is undergirded by the devalued female. Hitting is a violent form of bonding; it enacts a fusional state with the other. Fusion means two people become one physically, even if momentarily as well as in fantasy. Rape is also a violent bonding. Pederasty is another form of violent bonding. Culture and religion fit like hand in glove in terms of control over the female and her body in Afghanistan.


The following types of bonding are the building blocks of life’s interpersonal relationships – nonviolent or violent:

The Maternal Bond

Maternal bonding is often called maternal attachment in psychology. Social bonding and its traumatic bonding are intimately related to and arise out of the first bonding experience in life with the mother. The mother is the first cultural interpreter for the baby. The psychoanalyst John Bowlby was the first to write about the mother-infant bonding experience. He considered it a given in biology.

Social bonding

These are the bonds formed outside of the family. It is a process of developing a relationship between two or more people and it can take place with men and or women. It is mutual and not destructive such as in group activities. In this attachment the optimal entails trust and affection. Anyone coming in contact with another builds a bond which can be positive or negative.


Traumatic bonding

Another key aspect of bonding concerns traumatic bonding where attachment has become destructive and toxic. Malevolence prevails and often precipitated by psychopathic behavior. The power relationship is lopsided and not mutual. Hence the victim submits in this kind of attachment – dominator or abused. Traumatic bonding can occur within the family and outside of it – any kind of group. Often an identification with the aggressor is formed because the abused lacks agency and autonomy which was never established during childhood on account of earlier abusive patterns within the family. Domestic violence, honor killing are all manifestations of such traumatic bonding including suicide bombing and political violence.

Traumatic bonding occurs in domestic violence. It also has an intimate connection to the psychodynamics of the Islamic suicide attack which embodies the unconscious template of murder-suicide. It has been noted that often the first contact with law enforcement for the jihadis is a domestic violence call. Domestic violence calls are considered the most dangerous among law enforcement. Police officers in domestic violence units always go in pairs to the home in order to intervene, never alone because it is that fraught with difficulties at risk of death.


The Family as a Microcosm of Society

Halim Barakat, the Egyptian sociologist, wrote that the family is a microcosm of society. Barakat meant that if there is violence within the family, there will be violence and instability in the political world of the state. D. W. Winnicott, the psychoanalyst liked to say that “home is where we start from.” A secure maternal bond provides trust and stability in human relations. It will not become violent.

This brings to the discussion the unconscious idea of the Islamic Ummah because the word itself retains a tie to Umm, “mother” and where it has come to signify the Muslim “nation.” It is both local i.e. Afghanistan and also linked globally. The word “glocal” can be used to emphasize this duality and interconnectedness. Similarly, it is a kin to the etymology for the Western concept of “nation” which is intimately linked to being ‘born,’ natus, i.e. from the mother’s body. The maternal looms large in the Afghan psyche and yet the female is not only devalued but persecuted by the Taliban. In next week’s post – Part II we will look at the elephant in the room of geopolitics. Stay tuned.

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Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D. is a Contributing Editor to Blitz, Psychoanalyst and Counter Terrorist Expert.

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