Chess vs. Taliban in Kandahar
Residents of Kandahar have been taking part in a chess tournament in an attempt to revive one of the city’s former cultural pastimes.
Under the Taliban, chess was forbidden, but the city’s older residents hope this tournament will reintroduce the game to a younger generation.
The event was held at the Kandahar Coffee Shop which also hosts other cultural activities.
Kandahar is a key battleground for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
But Rahim Akrami, a local journalist in the city who watched the tournament, says it is important for younger people to rediscover this once forbidden activity….
“It is very important for us to have something recreational to do that enlightens the mind and is fun as well,” [Aman Ullah, a member of the Kandahar Students Organisation] told the BBC World Service….
A poster saying: ‘It’s better to battle with minds than fists and bullets’ lines the wall.
Mohammed Naseem, the owner of the Kandahar coffee shop, says he wants to provide a place for young people in the city.
“I am trying to create an atmosphere where the youth can hang out and learn something,” he says….
We are trying to show the world that this kind of thing can be done.”
Of course the Taliban would oppose chess, a game of rational thought where, as Lasker said, lies and hypocrisy do not survive long.