NEW YORK — The editorial board of The New York Times and other media outlets has caught on to the back-story behind the plethora of "Man Love Thursday" jokes which had provided uncomfortable laughter to U.S. forces in Afghanistan for nearly 14 years, sources confirmed today.
"Man Love Thursday," a running gag on military humor sites like Doctrine Man and ASMDSS, refers to the practice of "bacha bazi," in which Afghan men forcibly-rape young boys, often keeping them as sex slaves. The activity is particularly prevalent on Thursday night, which precedes the traditional Muslim day of rest.
Matthew Rosenberg, a New York Times reporter who has extensively covered Afghanistan, initially expressed shock at the Afghan practice, while reluctantly groaning at the adolescent jokes from U.S. troops.
"The other day — which just so happened to be Thursday — I saw two soldiers go into the woodline to take a piss, and another soldier quipped, 'Man, must be Thursday.'"
He added: "Seriously? That's messed up, dude!"
Bacha bazi had been outlawed under the Taliban during its rule from 1996 through 2001. Following the U.S. invasion however, the practice once again flourished in southern Afghanistan, after American troops liberated the country and Afghan men finally saw what their wives looked like without burkas on.
The appearance of U.S. forces in late 2001 is also credited with putting a stop to the widespread practices of spousal rape and female genital mutilation in the country for at least a day or two.
Spc. Thomas Hendricks, currently on his eighth tour of duty in Afghanistan, took time to speak to Duffel Blog while scribbling pictures of penises inside of a port-a-john, which military sources claim is essential to counter-insurgency strategy.
"Seriously? You just now got that about Thursdays? It's like every other dude here is a card-carrying member of CAMBLA!" Hendricks said, referring to the Central Asian Man-Boy Love Association.
"I mean, granted, we don't make Man Love Thursday jokes all the time. It's kind of like a slow clap. You have to wait for the moment to be right to make a truly great Man Love Thursday joke. I guess The New York Times just didn't happen to be around during that perfect moment."
The revelation that U.S. forces had been supporting Afghan forces suspected of child rape caused the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, to issue a press release.
"Though these allegations are reprehensible, our forces are still committed to partnering with the Afghan National Army," said Campbell. "Just as long as we're only partners six days a week."