A Chinese national named Lee who was illegally residing in Afghanistan was recently kidnapped from the Sherpur area of Kabul on 25 December 2021 by a local Taliban group reportedly on the pretext of Boy Play (Bacha Bazi as called in Pashto).

Local sources have reported that the matter was immediately reported to Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador in Afghanistan who contacted Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan Ambassador in Kabul to provide assistance in the release of Lee. Khan then contacted Haqqani Network (HQN) leaders and after two days on 27 December 21, Lee was released from Surobi district of Kabul.

Ground sources have verified that Lee was residing in Kabul without valid permit from the Taliban government and working as a manager in a Chinese mining company. He used to conduct meetings with the representatives of British and Turkish firms interested in mining business in Afghanistan.

This is not the first case of kidnapping of Chinese nationals in Afghanistan. According to locals, Bacha Bazi is a known activity of tribe leaders and war lords in Afghanistan and teenage boys are prime victims of it. The Chinese workers in Afghanistan appear luring to Afghans since they do not possess robust manly features and look similar to teenage boys or girls which makes them attractive.

Such kidnappings have been taking place from early 2008 when Reuters reported the release of kidnapped Chinese workers from Maidan Wardak after they were kept by a local tribe leader for 01 whole month. In 2010, a case was reported by Boston Herald and The Dawn on 18 Jan 2010, where 2 Chinese engineers and 4 Afghan boys were kidnapped. In June 2017, a few Chinese teachers were also kidnapped when they were found teaching mandarin and preaching Chinese culture in KPK region of Pakistan which was reported on 12 June 17 by World Affairs Journal where Haqqani network denied its involvement in kidnapping of Chinese teachers.

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