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80sU2isBest 11-13-2001 01:25 PM

Men shave after town freed from Taliban rule
Men shave after town freed from Taliban rule

The New York Times

TALOQAN, Afghanistan - In this town just freed from the Taliban by Northern Alliance troops, the busiest spot was Amon's Barbershop, where men lined up to have their beards shaved off.

One after another they came and one after the other the beards fell to the floor. At the end of the day, Amonullah, the proprietor, stood exhausted in a pile of beard cuttings. He smiled when he realized there was one thing he had forgotten to do.

"Tomorrow, I'm going to shave off my own beard," Amonullah said. With that, he closed for the night, capping the busiest day he had ever known.

In the 12 hours since the Taliban soldiers left this town, a joyous mood has spread. The people of Taloqan, who lived for two years under the Taliban's oppressive Islamic rule, burst onto the streets to toss off the restrictions that had burrowed into the most intimate aspects of their lives.

Men tossed their turbans into the gutters. Families dug up their long-hidden TV sets. Restaurants blared music. Cigarettes flared, and young men talked of growing their hair long.

In the most noticeable change of all, women, clad in their head-to-toe burqas, walked the streets alone, no longer required to have a male relative at their side, their blue and white and red burqas blowing open in the afternoon breeze.

"The Taliban, they were cruel people, and the whole city clapped and cheered when they retreated," said Muhammad Humayun, 23, a pharmacist. "The first thing I did was take my turban off and throw it away. I am going to enjoy my freedom."

Of course, the ebb and flow of armies always produces some quick adaptations of habits and views. Behind the enthusiasm of some residents there possibly lurked a cooler calculation of where their best interest now lay. Still, the joy here was palpable.

Taloqan, a valley town in northeast Afghanistan, fell to the Northern Alliance on Sunday afternoon, after troops under Gen. Daoud Khan overran Taliban front lines and secured the defection of an important local warlord.

The Taliban fled in a hurry. Daoud and his men rolled into the city at 5:30 p.m., and the townspeople poured into the streets to greet them. The adults threw money and roses, and the children clambered aboard the tanks and trucks.

With that celebratory entrance, Taloqan became the second major city to fall to the Afghan opposition in three days, and the first that foreign journalists have been able to enter. Mazar-e Sharif, the largest northern city, has remained inaccessible to correspondents since its reported capture by the Northern Alliance.

But the alliance's advance has aroused fears elsewhere.

"It is a kind of nightmare for our people that the Northern Alliance is coming," said Refat, a Pashtun who belongs to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, based in Pakistan. "When the Northern Alliance came to power in 1992, their first target was women - rape and abduction of women was very common at that time."

Most Pashtun fears focus on Rashid Dostum, the ethnic Uzbek warlord whose forces recaptured Mazar-e Sharif. Dostum supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, using it to rise from manager of a gas field to a commander controlling 20,000 fighters.

Many Pashtuns hold him responsible for lawlessness and atrocities committed while he served under the governments of Najibullah, who fell in 1992, and Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was pushed out by the Taliban in 1996 and is still recognized by the U.N. as Afghanistan's leader.

Dostum's spokesman dismissed Pashtun claims and Dostum said he has set up a security force to police Mazar-e Sharif and has told his troops to leave. "No chaos should take place in the town," Dostum said in a radio interview monitored by the British Broadcasting Corp.

In Taloqan's tea shops and food stores that line the main bazaar, the locals said the city never embraced the Taliban soldiers who captured the city or the creed that they brought with them.

After they captured Taloqan two years ago, the Taliban imposed the extreme brand of Islam that has brought them condemnation from around the globe. All men had to wear beards. No woman could work or go to school or leave the house alone. Television, music and photos of people were banned. Violators were beaten, jailed, mutilated and killed.

The ideology, however, never sank in, it seems.

On Monday, Muhammad Asif, a young shopkeeper, unearthed his television and slipped a weathered copy of Titanic into the VCR.

"Everywhere people are digging up their television sets," said Asif, standing in front of a restaurant. Like so many other men in Taloqan, Asif's head was bare in public for the first time in many months.

"All the restrictions, on television, on shaving, on women," Asif said, waving his hand. "The Quran says nothing about such things. The Taliban people are a bunch of illiterates."

Se7en 11-13-2001 02:15 PM

that's awesome!

The numeral 7

MysteryGirl 11-13-2001 04:45 PM

Just as I was reading this on here, they showed it on TV!! Those guys looked so happy!!! LOL! Bet they're ready to party! http://forum.interference.com/u2feedback/biggrin.gif

"You're dangerous...'cause you're honest"

tiny dancer 11-13-2001 06:45 PM

A great victory for the Northern Alliance today!!

IvanClaytonJnr 11-13-2001 06:56 PM

The main act begins when Government will be formed , this is will be a real WAR for influence , for money , for everything and i doubt that N. Alliance ( if they are real noble warriors ) will be with USA .

80sU2isBest 11-13-2001 07:05 PM


Originally posted by IvanClaytonJnr:
The main act begins when Government will be formed , this is will be a real WAR for influence , for money , for everything and i doubt that N. Alliance ( if they are real noble warriors ) will be with USA .
Actually the Northern Alliance is aligning itself with America and the UN on this one. They said today that they are inviting all Afghan tribes to come together to form the new government, except, of course the Taliban.

U2Kitten 11-13-2001 08:02 PM

I also heard the men took off their turbans and the women took off their veils!

IvanClaytonJnr 11-13-2001 08:08 PM

I hope that things you're saying about are really true , i really do . They're playing with strong team ( as Bush spoke : who is not with us , is against us ) .

foray 11-14-2001 12:42 AM


I'm showing this to my friends.


foray 11-14-2001 02:10 AM

I'm curious why anyone would want to be a barber where people couldn't shave or cut their hair...

Mirrorball Man 11-14-2001 03:44 AM

And long may it last.

Rain from Heaven.

Words are just dust in deserts of sound, in the Giving Ground.

Angela Harlem 11-14-2001 06:01 AM

Cos they still had to maintain a certain hair and beard length fors. Also these folks are prolly to poor to afford their own clippers and the cost of a barber is fractional compared to that.
Lets hope the freedom stays their own and the women are safe.

Rono 11-14-2001 01:23 PM

..and the first reports of executions are here on the news.

Diemen 11-14-2001 01:36 PM


Originally posted by IvanClaytonJnr:
( as Bush spoke : who is not with us , is against us ) .

Exactly what do you mean by this, Ivan?

speedracer 11-14-2001 01:38 PM


Originally posted by Rono:
..and the first reports of executions are here on the news.
Executions of Taliban soldiers, not civilians, from the BBC news report I'm reading. I guess it's not clear if they were fiercely loyal Taliban fighters or a bunch of hapless citizens coerced into service, although I guess it's clear that they were defenseless.

[This message has been edited by speedracer (edited 11-14-2001).]

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