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Taliban NarrativesThe Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict$
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Thomas Johnson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190840600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190840600.001.0001

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The Taliban’s Use of Shabnamah (Night Letters)1

The Taliban’s Use of Shabnamah (Night Letters)1

(p.53) 5 The Taliban’s Use of Shabnamah (Night Letters)1
Taliban Narratives

Thomas H. Johnson

Matthew DuPee

Wali Shaaker

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 focuses on a traditional Afghan means to communicate at the Afghan village level – Shabnamah or Night Letters. The tropes of this Taliban IO device include: impact of “foreign invaders” on Afghanistan and how they have traditionally been defeated, Kabul’s “puppet regime.” “cosmic conflict nature of Taliban’s battle, “crusaders promoting the destruction of Islam and Afghan life, the power of “martyrdom,” and revenge and honor. Numerous actual Taliban Shabnamah are presented and translated and assessed relative to their explicit stories. Table 5.1 presents the thematic lines of operation for Taliban night letters including: counter-collaboration, counter-education, counter-reconstruction, counter-mobility, and counter-stability. The rest of the chapter analyses a wide variety of night letters and their associated stories.

Keywords:   Taliban IO, Afghan Culture, Shabnamah, Taliban Night Letters, Cosmic Conflict, Taliban Stories, Ghilzai Afghans, Durrani Afghans

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