Culture | Society

Taliban Soldiers in Trouble For Taking Selfies and Having Fun With Tourists

The strange contrast of what is happening in Afghanistan’s transition.

Sean Kernan
4 min readSep 29, 2021


(Editorial rights purchased via iStock Photos)

Who’d have guessed Taliban soldiers would be acting like kids at Disney World. No, nothing I’m about to say is fiction.

The Taliban Defense Minister admonished his soldiers in a speech. “Stick to the tasks you have been assigned,” in an audio message released Thursday. “You are damaging our status, which has been created with the blood of our martyrs.”

He went on to lecture the mostly-young, all-male army on its conduct. He is angry they indulge in tourist behavior, wear fashionable clothes, and take selfies with the locals.

Author via BusinessInsider

It’s hard not to appreciate the grim, absurd irony: an infamously oppressive and strict regime must now contend with the fact that its young military appears reminiscent of their Generation-Z contemporaries — fresh with a liking for self-indulgence and flamboyance.

Surreal images began surfacing shortly after the fall of Kabul, with men on theme park rides. Other photos emerged of them playing on fitness equipment, with a Taliban soldier holding an AK-47 while using an elliptical.

Author via HamidShalizi (Labeled for Reuse)

I’m starting to wonder if these guys also shower with AK-47s and kiss them goodnight. I showed the theme park photo to my girlfriend, and she said, “Wait, so that’s like a real photo?”

It is. And there are many more like it.

Taliban leaders say they are worried because these cell phone photos can give away their leadership position to the enemy military.

The truth, however, is that their leadership isn’t that well-hidden anyways. Modern surveillance technology, via LIDAR drones and sophisticated satellites, makes their leaders very easy targets. But the days of vaporizing these men have passed…



Sean Kernan

Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.