Anti-Taleban rally in Raghagan, Pakistan
AP Photo by Aamir Qureshi
With the sighting of the new moon, the Muslim holy month of fasting comes to an end and with it the customary night prayers that have kept the general mood solemn for a month.
To mark the occasion, the men in this village in the North West Frontier Province head for the hujra – a place for a Pashtun male only community gathering. But there is more on their minds than the usual feasting frenzy of Eid – the Muslim festival which the moon has heralded.
Less than two weeks ago, a couple of pro-Taleban activists from a nearby village made an appearance at night prayers in one of the village mosques. They appealed for donations and manpower for what they described as the “holy war” in Afghanistan.
The people in the mosque contributed some coins towards their cause. But no one volunteered for the war. Since then, there has been a general unrest among the villagers about the Taleban’s intentions. They want government help if they decide to resist a possible Taleban takeover.
“We have to show our willingness to fight them and to raise our own force to patrol the village,” says a village councillor, addressing the men at the hujra.