Thousands of younger Taliban males from all around the nation, a lot of whom have by no means been to an enormous metropolis earlier than, had been deployed in Kabul after the Afghan republic collapsed Aug. 15. When not on responsibility, they sightsee, picnic and go to amusement parks, in a tangle of weapons and turbans. Taliban fighters from elsewhere in Afghanistan have additionally come to gawk at Kabul on vacationer journeys.
Top city sights for enjoyable Taliban are Qargha lake, with its swan-shaped pedal boats, the Kabul zoo, and the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, the place guests stroll on a grassy hill overlooking the town.
“I used to infiltrate in, to assemble intelligence or to shoot individuals we had been concentrating on,” stated Shafiullah Masood, a 24-year-old from the province of Wardak, on the City Park amusement middle with a gang of Taliban buddies, ready to go on the swinging pirate boat journey. “I’m comfortable that persons are having fun with a peaceable life right here now.”
The Taliban authorities’s Defense Minister Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoob, a son of the Islamist group’s one-eyed founder Mullah Omar, wasn’t amused. In a current speech, he castigated the fighters for going sightseeing, hanging out in large teams, making aimless journeys to markets and to the Kabul airport, or exploring authorities buildings.
“Stick to the duties you might have been assigned,” he stated in an audio message launched Thursday. “You are damaging our standing, which has been created with the blood of our martyrs.”
One key instruction was to stop taking so many selfies. Mawlawi Yaqoob was significantly aggravated that the Taliban foot troopers pull out their telephones to take photos with leaders of the motion at any time when they arrive throughout them. As these images find yourself on social media, they compromise safety by making a gift of areas and actions of the Taliban’s senior members, he warned.
Mawlawi Yaqoob additionally ordered the Taliban fighters to enhance their angle and look, bringing their beards, hair and garments into line with Islamic guidelines. Taliban males sporting shoulder-length hair, trendy clothes and mirror sun shades and sporting Servis Cheetah white high-top sneakers are a frequent sight throughout Kabul.
The Taliban fighters are additionally driving round too quick, Mawlawi Yaqoob complained, and not obeying visitors guidelines. The Taliban have appropriated fleets of Ford Rangers and Toyota Land Cruisers from senior officers of the previous Afghan republic and from the military, authorities ministries and police.
“This is the conduct of the warlords and gangsters of the puppet regime,” he stated, referring to the U.S.-backed authorities the Taliban overthrew. “If we proceed to behave like this, God forbid, we are going to lose our Islamic system.”
Since taking over Kabul, the Taliban have carried out a sequence of assassinations of political foes, together with former members of the Afghan republic’s safety providers and individuals believed to be near Islamic State.
In the western Afghan metropolis of Herat, the Taliban on Saturday hanged 4 males from cranes positioned on 4 metropolis squares that they stated had been a part of a kidnappers’ gang, in line with the proprietor of one of many eating places close to the scene of the hangings. Those had been believed to be the primary public executions for the reason that Taliban takeover final month.
Many in Kabul, a complicated metropolis of six million individuals, deeply resent the Taliban for curbing social freedoms that had been taken as a right for the previous twenty years, similar to girls’s entry to training or work. The metropolis’s lingua franca is Dari, an Afghan dialect of Persian, and many residents are unable to speak at checkpoints with the Taliban fighters who usually solely communicate Pashto, the principle language of the group’s southern and japanese Afghanistan heartland.
“The nation is completed. Everything is now within the fingers of mullahs,” stated a advertising and marketing govt for a cellphone firm in Kabul.
So far, Mawlawi Yaqoob killjoy admonishments appeared to have had solely a restricted affect on the Taliban foot troopers, a lot of them nonetheless of their teenagers and bedazzled by novelties similar to wheeled workplace chairs. Their encounters with the trendy world have spawned a whole style of mocking memes that proliferated on Instagram.
On Friday, Ehsanullah, a 23-year-old fighter from the southern province of Helmand, was on his third go to to Kabul’s City Park, which provides a Ferris wheel, swing chairs, a haunted home, and a toy gun taking pictures vary. He stated that he had by no means seen such rides earlier than.
“At first I used to be frightened of those rides, however as soon as I had a go, it’s no subject now,” he stated.
Ehsnanullah and fellow Taliban fighters on the amusement park have been informed handy over their Kalashnikovs and American-made M16 rifles at a particular sales space. There, a discover from the Taliban management instructs them to take action, saying that the presence of weapons on rides scares girls and kids.
“Initially, the general public was not acquainted with us, our costume, our language,” added Ehsanullah, who goes by one title. “Gradually, persons are beginning to chill out round us.”
The Kabul Zoo, too, was crammed with excited Taliban. A spherical of impromptu wrestling, a well-liked sport right here, was taking place on a garden which normally serves as a picnic spot. Fighters, together with some curious non-Taliban households, sat on the grass watching. Wrapping their arms round their opponent in a bear hug, the wrestlers would carry the loser off his ft and swing him round.
There was no contest over the most well-liked animal for the Taliban.
“I beloved seeing the lion as a result of we’re additionally lions,” stated Mohammad Amin, a Talib from the province of Farah, sitting by a pond, the place herons waded. “I used to be able to be a suicide attacker. Now I’m comfortable that I’m seeing Islamic legislation come to Kabul.”
Among the non-Taliban within the throng, not everybody was having such a great time. An worker of the presidential secretariat, on the amusement park together with his younger son, stated he didn’t know if he nonetheless had a job. During his grownup life, there have been bewildering, sudden, modifications in regimes from the early Nineteen Nineties, he stated, ending with the Taliban again in energy.
“My head is spinning,” he stated.
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