The Taliban’s Lessons in Masculinity


“During the US evacuation of Afghanistan, as the mainstream press argued about the fate of translators, or the evacuation of Pen Farthing’s dogs, the online Right had fun tweaking progressive noses by cheering on the Taliban. The return of veiling for women was celebrated and pictures of Afghans atop abandoned US weaponry were gleefully shared. Memes contrasted a purportedly effete, rainbow-flag-promoting US military with pious, self-confidently masculine warrior Afghans. And a jihadi version of the hypermasculine “Gigachad” meme popped up, dubbed “Talichad”.

But though Talichad won the insurgency, could he still lose the peace? Young Taliban fighters, whose daily life has been transformed by victory, have been interviewed for a new report — and it turns out many don’t like it. Put to work in Kabul’s bureaucracy, they find office work dull and restrictive, and they miss the excitement, fellowship and lofty moral purpose they felt as insurgents. Not only do they loathe office work every bit as much as the West’s much-discussed “quiet quitters”, but peacetime urban life appears to be making them soft and, well, less Taliban-ish.”


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