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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 Afghans’ and Taliban’s Use of Poetry and Taranas1

The Afghans’ and Taliban’s Use of Poetry and Taranas1

(p.107) 7 The Afghans’ and Taliban’s Use of Poetry and Taranas1
Taliban Narratives

Thomas H. Johnson

Matthew DuPee

Wali Shaaker

Oxford University Press

Poetry has long been a central pillar of Afghan Literature and the Taliban have used it extensively in their IO campaign. Poetry is important to the Taliban and Afghans in general because it is essentially a spoken, not written art, so it accessible to the illiterate, especially rural Afghan population. The chapter examines a wide variety of Taliban poetry and also poetry written by those sympathetic to the Taliban. Each poem also includes an explanation of the story associated with it. An analysis of Taliban poetry to those of moderate Afghan poets. The chapter also focuses on 8 or poetic chants that have traditionally played an important role in the communication of local afghans. Numerous chants and their associated stories are examined that often reflect the manipulation by the Taliban of Afghan traditions, narratives, collective memory of events, and culture. These chants focus on themes such as: Taliban victory is inevitable, Islam can never be defeated, the Taliban are national heroes, Afghans have a long history in defeating invading foreign “infidels”, and all Afghans have an obligation to join the jihad to defeat invaders and apostates.

Keywords:   Taliban poetry, Taranas (chants), Mujahid, Afghan music, Apostates, Afghan Government “puppets”, Gila (complaints)

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