Taliban videos push out Bollywood
On a street of pulsing electronic shops, young men with spiked hair and tight jeans browse through DVD stalls and huddle over sidewalk computer stands, downloading the latest hot song or video clip and passing them instantly via bluetooth technology from cellphone to cellphone.world Updated: Jul 05, 2011 01:57 IST
On a street of pulsing electronic shops, young men with spiked hair and tight jeans browse through DVD stalls and huddle over sidewalk computer stands, downloading the latest hot song or video clip and passing them instantly via bluetooth technology from cellphone to cellphone.
Often the content is sexually alluring and semi-forbidden in Afghan society: shimmying female singers from Iran or starlets from India.
But in recent months, another craze has gripped the capital circuit, holding a more disturbing appeal for a generation of Muslim youths yearning for excitement.
The images are of real war and shocking violence: US military vehicles exploding; Western troops tossed high in the air; terrified foreigners being dragged and mutilated.
The soundtracks are a mix of gunfire and chants in male voices praising fallen heroes and calling for sacrifice in the name of Islam.
"O Talib, come to my dreams," begins one.
"The brave infidel slayers are everywhere. We will burn their tanks and set them on fire. The brave infidel slayers are turned to ashes, but they still live. .?.?. O Talib, come to my grave. The infidel dragons have killed me; follow my footsteps when I am gone."
These are Taliban videos, made with sophisticated production techniques and vague credits such as "Quetta Jihadi Studios" and "Wardak Martyrdom Studios."
Some have been available in Afghanistan for several years, but many more have appeared in circulation here in recent months.
It is not clear where the incidents featured have occurred, but the videos appear to be genuine.
They are also illegal. Many sidewalk vendors charge about 20 cents to download the videos, the same price as clips of pop singers or novelty ring tones, but they can be arrested and jailed if caught selling the insurgent material.
(In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post)