Judeo-Christian traditions have not always been above reproach. But we have made serious progress in comparison with some other cultures. It is reprehensible that some cultures tolerate or even encourage things like this.
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan,particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.
Sexual abuse of minors and of women is intolerable. I don't care if it is part of the culture, it is wrong.
That having been said, in the diplomacy of "the enemy of my enemy is maybe not my enemy", I can understand the dilemma faced by troops and policy makers.
Nevertheless, I hope all the warm fuzzy multiculturalists who argue that all cultures are equally legitimate will wake up.
Maybe now that piece in the NYTimes has blown the whistle, others will see the horribleness of that culture.