Taliban fighters have been filmed enjoying themselves in pedal boats on one of Afghanistan’s beautiful lakes.
When they aren’t inflicting brutal punishments on people who fail to adhere to their hardline laws, the jihadis seem to be enjoying a break from their years of hiding out in remote military camps.
A group of men who looked like they were Tailban members were seen at a Herat carnival riding bumper cars as their Afghan comrades fought in other parts of the country.
As part of their tradition of carrying weapons wherever they go, at most one of the men was seen driving around in a dodgem with a gun and hammering into his fellow fighters.
Another band of fighters was caught on video rolling around on office chairs.
And now a group of the radical Islamic fundamentalists has been pictured playing about in pedalos in Afghanistan’s Band-e Amir national park.
Again, the men held onto their weapons and were seen playing in boats. One even appeared to be carrying a Russian RPG-9 grenade launcher.
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While it was an amusing and surreal sight, with many social media users joking about a “Taliban Navy” and the “rubber dinghy rapids” scene from Four Lions, there are grave concerns about what the group will do now they’re in power.
The Band-e Amir park, for example is less than 50 miles from Bamiyan, where in 2001 Taliban forces influenced by Osama bin laden used explosives to destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan – two massive 100-foot statues that had been carved in the 6th Century by Afghan Buddhists
Earlier this month, a number of musical instruments including two grand pianos were smashed to splinters at Kabul’s state recording studios in Afghanistan. The official spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that all music is “un-Islamic”.
At the end of last month, popular Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi was dragged from his home and shot in the head by Taliban killers in a country village north of Kabul. It appears that his only crime was singing.
Another man was accused of being homosexual and was beaten up and raped in the Taliban’s presence.
Artemis Akbary, an Afghan LGBT+ rights activist based in Turkey, told ITV: “They are trying to tell the world ‘we are changed and we don’t have problems with women’s rights or human rights’ – but they are lying.
“The Taliban hasn’t changed, because their ideology hasn’t changed”.