Taliban confiscates books in Kabul, targeting religious and political works

KABUL — Taliban has seized at least 100 books, encompassing religious and political themes, from bookstores and libraries in Kabul as it continues a broader campaign on literature, according to a five-page list obtained from a publication house in the capital city.

Many of the targeted books are authored by writers outside of Afghanistan, sparking criticism among the literary community. “This decision promotes brainwashing and propagates the Taliban’s monolithic ideology,” several writers commented.

The list includes seven religious books now banned by the Taliban, such as “Quran, Kalashnikov and Laptop for Breeding New Taliban,” “His Jihad is the Caliphate,” and “The Movement of Hazaras and Shiites in Afghanistan.” Additionally, it features 21 historical titles and numerous political books deemed contrary to the Taliban regime.

Notable banned political books include “Pakistan’s Role in the Bloody Tragedy of Afghanistan,” “The Taliban Project in Afghanistan,” and “Pashtun of Arab Origin from the Generation of Shia Imams,” among others.

Mujeeb Rahman Rahimi, an author and former spokesman for the peace council under the republic government, now living abroad, said, “The Taliban’s recent censorship is a direct attack on intellectual freedom. My works are among those confiscated.”

The Taliban defends these actions as necessary. “Our aim is not censorship but to prevent division and the spread of harmful ideologies,” stated Atiqullah Aziz, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture of the Taliban.

Some authors argue that the Taliban’s book collection and bans are attempts to unify public opinion and steer youth towards their ideology. Kabul students have reported that the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban has also removed books from university libraries that oppose Taliban views.

“Removing these books hinders our academic progress. We need access to a diverse range of literature for comprehensive education,” expressed Shafi, a Kabul student. Another student, Mojtaba, noted, “The absence of these books, particularly those on religion and politics, impedes young people’s intellectual growth.”

Previously, the Taliban established a book evaluation commission, which halted the publication of hundreds of books and removed many from circulation and libraries.