Sunday Levity: The Mujahideen’s blanket

Pashtun war gear

In The Battle for Afghanistan (published earlier as Afghanistan: The Bear Trap) Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf and Mark Adkin describe the Mujahideen’s kit:

After their weapon, the next most valued possession is their blanket. It is usually a greyish-brown in colour, and is used day and night for a wide number of purposes. The Mujahideen uses it as a coat, or cloak, for warmth in winder, or against the wind; they crouch under it to conceal themselves from enemy gunships, as it blends perfectly with the mud or rocks; they sleep on it; they use it as a sack; they spread it on the ground as a table cloth, or upon which to display their wares; often it becomes a makeshift stretcher and sometimes it is a rope; several times a day it becomes their prayer mat. [The Battle For Afghanistan pp35]

Brigadier Yousaf does not say whether and how often they wash it.

(It is interesting how today’s Taliban and al Qaeda types are labelled jihadis, and the words mujahid (one who does jihad) and its plural form, mujahideen are reserved for the Afghans and Pashtuns who fought the Soviets.)