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.
In August, men who appeared to be Tailban members were spotted at a funfair in the city of Herat, riding bumper cars and a merry-go-round as their comrades were still fighting Afghan government forces elsewhere in the country.
In keeping with their tradition of carrying weapons everywhere they go, at least one of the men was holding an assault rifle as he drove around in a gold-coloured dodgem, bashing into his mates.
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 hung onto their weapons while messing about in boats, with one even apparently holding a Russian-made 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. His only crime appears to have been singing.
Another man, accused of being gay, was beaten and raped by men of the Taliban.
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”.
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