An American adviser to the Afghan government has been arrested in the capital for allegedly having homosexual relations with an Afghan man, officials said Tuesday. The man was arrested late last week after an Afghan detained by police told investigators the American had paid him for sexual relations at a Kabul hotel, the officials said. Afghan officials say homosexuality remains a crime, even though it no longer brings the brutal punishment handed out under the Taliban before its ouster in 2001. Under its harsh interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law, gays were crushed to death by having walls toppled on them, although Afghans say closet gay relationships remained widespread. "Islam doesn't allow homosexuality," said Abdul Halim Samadi, a prosecutor dealing with the current case in Kabul. "Prostitution is also punishable in Afghanistan under Islamic law." Samadi said the American could get a jail term of five to 15 years if convicted.
A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said she was unaware of the arrest and declined further comment. The head of the criminal department for the Kabul City Police, Jamil, who goes by one name, said the American is an adviser to the Finance Ministry. He declined to disclose his name. Police had trailed the 18-year-old Afghan "coming and going from the American's room" in an upscale hotel in Kabul, said Jamil. Samadi said the Afghan man told investigators that the American paid him up to $50 per visit and helped him get a job at a relief organization. He said the attorney general's office was awaiting the results of medical tests on the Afghan man before deciding on any charges.