In case anyone has forgotten the Taliban or doesn’t believe reports from Saudi Arabia or Iran, this look at the rule of the radical group Ansar al-Islam in a region of Iraq gives a glimpse of the kind of society jihadists worldwide want to establish. From AP, with thanks to Nicolei:
Back when the radical Islamic group Ansar al-Islam held sway here, laughing aloud could earn a public scolding or even a beating by long-bearded, baggy-pant-wearing militants.
Nestled in the mountains close to Iran, Biyara was once a a base for the militant group, which U.S. and U.N. officials say is linked to al-Qaida.
U.S. jets and Kurdish militiamen routed Ansar al-Islam from the area last year. Local officials say the Kurdish extremist group fled to Iran, regrouped and came back to join the fight against the American-led occupation.
“When Saddam Hussein was toppled and the borders became open, they came back to Iraq to fight the American forces,” said Sarkawt Kuba, Sulaimaniya’s security chief. Iran denies any links to the group.
The prospect of returning to life under Ansar al-Islam is chilling to residents of this remote area near the Iranian border. Humor wasn’t the only thing frowned upon. Watching television, listening to radio and even games — like cards or dominoes — were also prohibited.
Men had to wear baggy pants, grow their beards, shave their mustaches. Women were required to cloak their bodies in flowing robes.
“I felt like I was imprisoned, or living in hell,” said Shahla Wali, 46, a mop of thick black hair escaping her thin veil.