Kabul gamers fret over favourite pastime with Taliban back in power


  • World
  • Monday, 13 Sep 2021

(Reuters) - The Sm:)le net club, a gaming cafe in downtown Kabul, used to be a haven for young people in the city: an escape from the daily grind in a country where decades of war and economic malaise have dimmed their prospects.

Now, with Afghanistan back under control of the Taliban, which banned most forms of entertainment during its previous rule in 1996 to 2001, some fear that gaming may be wrenched away.

"Unemployment has increased a lot in the last few weeks ... and we come here to play," said student Ahmad Shoieb, sitting amongst the plush sofas and large TV screens featuring soccer and fighting games.

"What will we do if they close the game cafe?"

The Islamist movement has been at pains to show a more conciliatory face to the world since it swept to power on Aug. 15, but there remains uncertainty over how it will govern.

It has said cultural activities would be allowed, as long as they did not go against sharia and Afghanistan's Islamic culture.

When they last ruled Afghanistan, the Taliban banned television, most commercial music and video games, and imposed harsh public punishments on those that broke its rules.

The cafe's proprietor, Ahmad Jawad, said many of his usual customers had been scared to come back, fearing the Taliban would raid the cafe and arrest or even whip patrons.

"Because of this, people's interest in game cafes has decreased a lot and we have all suffered," Jawad said.

He added that he had invested heavily in the cafe, the sole source of income for his family, and could struggle to find other jobs if it had to close.

(Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Russian opposition figure gets 8-1/2 years' jail on 'false information' charge
Griner back in U.S. in 'good spirits' as Russia's Bout lands in Moscow
UK sanctions Russian and Iranian officials, citing human rights abuses
US woman, father found dead after her toddler answers phone call from worried co-worker
Canada adds sanctions on Russia, Iran, Myanmar over human rights
France's EDF turns up nuclear as cold snap tests energy resolve
Russian state media lauds Putin's 'win' on Viktor Bout exchange
Vietnam vessel saves 154 Rohingya from sinking boat, transfers to Myanmar navy
Pakistani journalist's killing in Kenya a pre-meditated murder -report
French President Emmanuel Macron slams TikTok algorithm over censorship, ‘addiction’

Others Also Read