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From interviews with former Taliban fighters conducted in Kabul and published by the Afghanistan Analysts Network in February. Translated from the Pashto.

Leaving the Taliban’s friendly environment was difficult. There was love, sincerity, and the thirst for martyrdom. After the victory, we moved to Kabul and some of my friends and I were given jobs in the police district. We sit in one place, behind a desk and a computer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Life has become so wearisome; you do the same things every day.

After the victory, I was appointed as a head of office. What I don’t like about Kabul are the ever-increasing traffic holdups. Last year it was tolerable, but in the past few months it has become more and more congested. I also haven’t brought my family to Kabul, because the rent is very high. Another thing I don’t like are the new restrictions. We used to have a great degree of freedom about where to go and where to stay. However these days you have to go to the office before 8 am and stay there till 4 pm. If you don’t go, you’re considered absent, and your salary is cut.

I joined the Taliban when I was twenty. The time of jihad was very good for us. I myself, for example, was not responsible for contributing to the livelihood of the family since my other brothers took care of it. However, everything has changed since then. Your family wouldn’t openly tell you to bring home your entire salary so they can feed your children, but you can feel from their behavior that this is exactly what they mean. It’s difficult not to miss the days of jihad. Back then, we weren’t under strict supervision. Now, if we complain or don’t come to work, they cut our salary.

When we were doing jihad, it was a holy path that gave us real delight. I sometimes miss that life. Now I spend most of my time on Twitter. Many mujahedeen, including me, are addicted to the internet, especially Twitter. When I started my job, I didn’t have a clue about how to deal with the tasks, so my supervisor told me to take a computer course. I learned many computer programs during this period. You might not believe me, but let me tell you a fact about the Taliban: we are fast learners.

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May 2023

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