International - Nadia Rasul - Taliban Poetry: Yes, They Write Poems, and They’re Surprisingly Diverse - The Atlantic
Poetry of the Taliban is an English language anthology of poems written by the Afghan Taliban that give an insight into the lyrical souls of the members of this miltant group. Kandahar-based researchers and writers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn have translated and edited more than 250 poems, sourced mainly from contemporary media — specifically the Taliban’s official website. The collection also includes samples of older poetic works that date back to the 1980s and 1990s.
Rather than presenting a cohesive ideology, the poems represent a melange of voices. Going beyond political and militant propaganda, these poems reflect a diversity of emotions such as “unrequited love, bloody vengeance and the thrill of battle, religion and nationalism, even a desire for non-violence,” that are expressed through “images of wine, powerful women, song, legend and pastoral beauty.” This anthology presents a complex image of the Taliban, one that complicates our sometimes monolithic image of the Taliban. “It was refreshing to be able to think about Afghanistan outside the usual tropes and patterns,” say the editors.