By Stefanie Glinski. KABUL Thomson Reuters Foundation - In conservative Afghanistan, former dancing boy Farhad leads a double life; married father-of-six by day, cross-dressing dancer and sex worker by night. Islamic clerics led calls for the centuries-old tradition to be stopped, saying those involved should be stoned for sodomy which is forbidden under Islamic law. In aid workers said they were seeing a growing number of children orphaned or forced to work on the streets.
To make matters worse, she shares a small house with Juma Gul and his second wife, and their rooms are directly opposite each other. Under Islamic law, a man can take up to four wives but is supposed to treat them all equally. In practice, the first wife is often rejected when her husband remarries. As well as bitterly resenting years of being refused physical intimacy with their husband, some said that they had been denied the chance to have more children. Most Islamic scholars agree that it is forbidden for husbands to forgo sex for more than four months, and Sharia law allows a wife to seek a divorce if her husband is unable to satisfy her physical needs. But social pressure and the fear of public disgrace mean that few women pursue this course of action. I would call to him from my room to spend the night with me, but he would just insult me.
Afghanistan has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment at the highest levels of government. Officials deny wrongdoing but a BBC investigation has heard from women who describe a culture of abuse. In a house near the foot of the dusty mountains that surround Kabul, I meet a former government employee.