Shopkeeper: Here's What the Taliban Like to Buy

White undies, foreign perfumes, brand-name soaps, he says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
In this Thursday, Sept, 26, 2013 photo, Abdul Wasay, 75, sells toothbrushes and toothpaste on a busy street market In Kabul, Afghanistan, where he says he usually spends most of his days.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

(Newser) – Ever wonder what the Taliban buy when they go shopping? Neither did we, but apparently they like spending big bucks on nice perfumes and brand-name soaps and shampoos. Oh, and they prefer white underwear, either Y fronts or briefs, a former shopkeeper tells the BBC. The young man in his 20s says he fled Miranshah, North Waziristan—a Taliban-controlled part of Pakistan—after an army offensive displaced 800,000 people and ruined his customer base. As for the Taliban, "they didn't like Pakistani products," he says. "They used to prefer foreign or branded perfumes and imported body sprays. They liked the ones with a strong scent."

For their women, he says, Taliban fighters bought perfumes like Blue Lady by Rasasi and Secret Love; for shampoos, it was Clear or Head and Shoulders; for soap, they bought Dove. Another Miranshah seller, a tailor, confirms that the Taliban were his best customers and spent 2,000 to 3,000 rupees per sale (the equivalent of about two weeks' salary). Other Afghan shopkeepers have another grievance these days, saying the nation's presidential-election crisis has ground sales nearly to a halt, the BBC reports. And in a sad report yesterday, officials said that eight civilians driving to Kandahar to go shopping and see a doctor died when a roadside bomb went off, Reuters reports. (For more on Afghanistan, see what the Taliban is accused of doing to voters.)

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