Afghan ‘Jihadi Leaders’ Under Fire for Enjoying Chinese Girls’ Dance at Communism Celebration

Sarwar Danish during the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by/U.S. State Department)
U.S. State Department

Three of the most prominent Islamists in Afghanistan who now serve in Kabul’s government have sparked criticism for allegedly watching Chinese women performing acrobatic dances during a celebration marking China’s communism over the weekend.

The former warlords attended the party at the Chinese Embassy in Kabul on the eve of the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Monday.

Khaama Press (KP) identified the Islamists as Afghanistan’s “Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, First Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Khan, Second Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, and former jihadi leader Sebghatullah Mujadedi, among several others who have attended the party.”

On Monday, KP noted:

The photos of some prominent Jihadi leaders which purport to show the acrobatic dance of some Chinese girls before them have gone viral on the internet and have sparked reactions among the social media users … While some social media users have criticized the Jihadi leaders for watching the acrobatic dance, others have criticized them for participating in a party despite fighting Communism for several years.

Referring to the Afghan officials as “onetime hard-line Islamists,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) added:

[T]he former warlords’ credentials have been questioned by some Afghans after they attended a celebration marking Chinese communism in Kabul.

The three gray-bearded men, clad in traditional Afghan garb, were photographed attending a dance performance at the Chinese Embassy, where Chinese women performed acrobatic dances in skin-tight clothing. The act was part of a September 29 ceremony marking the anniversary of the formation of Communist China in 1949.

From the late 70s through the 80s, jihadi groups like the Taliban, known collectively as the mujahideen, repelled an invasion by the Afghan communist party-allied Soviet Union.

Khan and Mohaqiq reportedly shared pictures of the party celebrating communism on their official Facebook accounts.

Social media users were quick to acknowledge the irony and hypocrisy of the former mujahideen attending the communist event, RFE/RL noted, adding:

Mojadedi, Mohaqiq, and Khan were prominent commanders of the mujaheddin, the Islamist militant groups who fought against the Soviet and Afghan communist forces in the 1980s and seized power from 1992-96 during the country’s devastating civil war.

The mujaheddin enforced an Islamic dress code in Kabul and women who wore makeup or failed to cover their heads were threatened and sometimes beaten. Some women also lost their jobs, as some occupations were considered un-Islamic.

RFE/RL identified the Afghan officials as:

Mojadedi, a former president during mujaheddin rule; Mohaqiq, a former warlord from the mainly Shi’ite Hazara community and the second vice president of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah; and Khan, Abdullah’s first vice president and a senior member of the Hizb-e Islami party that was accused of being behind instances of acid being thrown in women’s faces in the 1970s and 80s.

It remains unclear whether the jihadi leaders knew of the Chinese dancers in advance.

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