By Frud Bezhan
October 01, 2018
Sibghatullah Mojadedi, Mohammad Mohaqiq,
and Mohammad Khan are among Afghanistan's most prominent onetime hard-line
Islamists. But the 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.
As the photos of the event were revealed on
September 30, the irony was not lost on many Afghan social-media users.
Mojadedi, Mohaqiq, and Khan were prominent
commanders of the mujahedin, 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 mujahedin 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.
Photos on social media captured the
attendance of Mojadedi, a former president during mujahedin 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
The three men cut a large cake with
representatives from the Chinese Embassy and then took their seats to watch the
show among other senior Afghan government officials.
Ismail Miakhail, a BBC reporter, mocked the
three men on Facebook on September 30:
"Subhanullah [Glory to God!] Former
Afghan jihadist leaders watching Chinese dancers & cutting cake in Chinese
One Twitter user accused the three men of
The audiences (Afghan warlords) are watching
half naked Chinese girls dancing in Kabul Chinese embassy. It reveals their
Another Twitter user, who described himself
as a freelance journalist, joined in:
Chinese embassy putting a sexy dance
performance for Afghan officials and many associated with Islamist parties of
jihad, including the 90 years old Mujadedi, Mohammad Mahaqiq and others who
killed Thousands of innocents for Jahad’s slogan in the country.
Twitter user Abdugheni Sabit, who describes
himself as an activist for Uyghur rights, wrote:
#Afghan Jihadi leaders who fought against
Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980’s attending a #Chinese cultural
event in Chinese embassy in Kabul. No official statement about persecution of
#Uyghurs. Total silence.Among the leaders, there is Muhammad Khan of Hizb e
It was unclear if the three men were aware
that the ceremony at the embassy was to feature the dance performance.
Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan and the broader South Asia and Middle East