But these subjects of the Islamic Emirate could not be kept from watching Stranger Things or Game of Thrones or Japanese anime; they had a better knowledge of Breaking Bad than I did. On Twitter—they, like so many Afghans, were avid users—shared soyjack memes and called themselves “sigma males.” They talked about feminism, “LGBTQ,” and pronouns—strange things to complain about in a country where women can’t go to school. They were becoming Westerners: culture war, America’s most successful soft-power export, was their induction. The younger members of the Taliban, online enough to follow Andrew Tate, were not immune.

Now he was getting excited. “Martyrdom,” he said, “would make me much happier than being a bureaucrat and working in the ministry. On the word of Sirajuddin Haqqani, we would happily blow ourselves up tomorrow!”

This is a wild piece about peaceful life under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.


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