Ex-UK commander denounces Taliban poetry book as 'enemy propaganda'
London, May 5 (ANI): A former commander of British forces in Afghanistan has denounced the UK publication of a collection of translated poems by members of the Afghan Taliban as 'enemy propaganda'.
The publishers have been accused of 'giving voice to terrorists', but the book's editors argue that its 235 poems, including love poems, verses exulting in the Afghan landscape and patriotic ballads, provide a unique insight into the human side of the Taliban.
Alex Strick van Linschoten, one of the two editors of Poetry of the Taliban, said that 'the poetry shows that the Taliban are people just like we are, with feeling, concerns, anxieties like ours'.
According to The Guardian, Richard Kemp, the former commander, cautioned against 'being taken in by a lot of self-justifying propaganda'.
"What we need to remember is that these are fascist, murdering thugs who suppress women and kill people without mercy if they do not agree with them, and of course are killing our soldiers," the paper quoted Kemp, as saying.
"It doesn't do anything but give the oxygen of publicity to an extremist group which is the enemy of this country," he added.
The verses in Poetry of the Taliban, which will be released on 17 May, are drawn from both the period before and after the Taliban's fall in 2001, and are by known Pashto poets as well as anonymous writers.
According to the paper, in the collection there are many Tarana ballads, translated from Pashto, about fighting and dying, often dripping with contempt for the foreign enemies and their Afghan allies, led by President Hamid Karzai.
But more surprisingly, there are many love poems, drawing on pre-Taliban poetic traditions, harking back to a 17th-century golden age in Pashto poetry. (ANI)
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