Kabul, Dec 3 (ANI): WikiLeaks' recently released secret cables have revealed that former Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar was in panic over a scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young "dancing boys" to entertain them in northern parts of the country, and begged the US embassy to stop a journalist from publicising the story.
According to the Guardian, there is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, which sometimes crosses the line into child abuse with Afghans keeping boys as possessions.
In a meeting with the assistant US ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, Atmar had warned in June last year that the story would "endanger lives" and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public, the paper said.
It was this episode that helped to fuel Afghan demands that contractors and private security companies be brought under much tighter government control, it added.
Atmar had reportedly asked the US military to assume authority over training centres managed by DynCorp, the US company whose employees were involved in the incident in the northern province of Kunduz.
The paper quoted the leaked documents as saying that Atmar also urged for tighter control over Afghan employees of such companies as well.
"He was convinced that the Kunduz incident, and other events where mentors had obtained drugs, could not have happened without Afghan participation," the cable said.
He insisted that a journalist looking into the incident should be told that the story would endanger lives, and that the US should try to quash the story.
However US diplomats turned him down saying that he was overreacting and that approaching the journalist involved would only make the story worse, adding: "A widely-anticipated newspaper article on the Kunduz scandal has not appeared but, if there is too much noise that may prompt the journalist to publish," the cable added.
Two Afghan policemen and nine other Afghans were arrested as part of investigations into a crime described by Atmar as "purchasing a service from a child", which the cable said was against both sharia law and the civil code.
Earlier this year Karzai had issued a decree calling for the dissolution of all private security companies by the end of the year, the paper added. (ANI)