So here’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. The Pakistan Taliban has launched its own magazine for women.
Yup. The first edition of Sunnat-E-Khaula released yesterday, and it seems to be a new initiative by Pakistan’s Taliban to woo women supporters. ISIS has been known to use a variety of propaganda to draw different kinds of supporters across various demographics, and the Taliban seems to be taking a leaf out of its book.
Among other things, this new magazine advised women to get married early to prevent moral decay, (which is something I’ve actually had said to me by a lot of my own relatives), waved away child-marriage as a non-issue (which thankfully has not been said to me ever) and encouraged women to hold meetings with other women interested in jihad. The magazine’s cover bore an image of a woman covered in a burkha.
The magazine asked women to distribute literature discussing the jihadi cause, and encouraged them “to arrange physical training classes for sisters” and “learn how to operate simple weapons”.
That last part reminded me a lot of the things Nisha Pahuja explored in her documentary, The World Before Her, which explored Indian beauty pageants and right wing Hindu militant training camps for women. In her explorations of the VHP’s women’s wing Durga Vahini, or Army of Durga, she found that women were being trained to use cane sticks and air rifles during weapons training camps, and met young women who claimed to be proud of having no Muslim friends and who said they would make bombs if the situation arose, and camp leaders who led the women in chants of “Hindustan is for Hindus. Pakistan can go to hell!”