Members of the Taliban in Kunduz, Afghanistan, put on a display of military power complete with mask compliance and Chinese style goose-stepping.
Alright, let me preface this by getting this out of the way right out of the gate. I cannot prove that the Chinese are influencing the Taliban on the ground in Afghanistan in a military training capacity in anyway whatsoever. Everything I write here is simply my own observations from the situation on the ground as it is currently unfolding. Now, that said, I'm going to editorialize at you for a few minutes.
Watching this video, a couple of things are abundantly clear. The Taliban are trying to seem like both a legitimate military force, and a legitimate government at the same time. That's why the Taliban fighters, who ten months ago were hiding in caves and rocking flip flops into battle, are now doing the goose-step in military parades, and why those same Taliban fighters are rocking 3M surgical masks to "protect" themselves from COVID-19.
Now, let's think about this logically for a second. The average Taliban fighters doesn't have access to Twitter. Even if he did, the average Taliban fighter can't read or write in any language. On top of this, the average Taliban fighter cut his teeth for war running up and down the sides of mountains lobbing RPGs at heavily armored vehicles. So, how then did these illiterate Taliban fighters figure out that wearing a surgical mask was the appropriate thing to do if they wanted to virtue signal their hopes for an end to the pandemic? More importantly, where did these guys start picking up professional military mannerisms and parade techniques?
Obviously, they look like goons regardless of how hard they try. They'll always be 8th Century Barbarians, and no amount of goose-stepping is going to change that. If I had to take one stab at who's teaching them these things, I'd have to point my finger towards China. When the Taliban started to take control of Afghanistan, China was the first country to raise their hand and recognize the Taliban as the true government of Afghanistan. When the Taliban decided it was time to start selling off mining rights to precious minerals in their homeland, China was the first country to raise their hands and put in a bid. I mean, it only makes sense, right?
I might be wearing a tinfoil hat here, and I'm fine with that. Am I the only one seeing the Chinese influence in this video? Let me know down in the comments if you think I'm crazy. I'd love to hear from some of you guys on what you're thinking when you see video like this coming out of Afghanistan.