• Dying to Live: The “Love to Death” Narrative Driving the Taliban’s Suicide Bombings

      Ahmadzai, A.; University of Arizona (Terrorism Research Initiative, 2021)
      Embracing the tactic of suicide bombings first in 2003, the Taliban in Afghanistan quickly emerged as the leading terrorist group in the world that has claimed responsibility for such bombings. Over a period of more than 10 years, the group has indiscriminately carried out hundreds of suicide bombings across the country. How have the Taliban managed to operationalize one of the most notorious bombing tactics against all the existing social and cultural odds of Afghan society? To answer this question, this study, by applying qualitative thematic analysis, examined the contents of the Taliban’s written and audio-visual materials on suicide bombings. Two dominant narratives, namely “Istish-haadi” [seeking martyrdom] and “love to death,” that are at the core of the Taliban’s produced literature on suicide bombings, have supplied the group with dispensable human bombs. These bombers, the study concludes, are “dying to live”. © 2021