The 72 Virgins Ploy

Mujib Mashal reports on how the Taliban is using young boys’ sexual impulses as a recruitment strategy:

Today, scientists still acknowledge the destructive potential of desire. “Sexual frustration is simply part of the potent human drive to survive and reproduce,” said Jeff Victoroff, a professor of clinical neurology and psychiatry at the University of Southern California and an expert on the psychology of terrorism. …

The Taliban has turned this instinct into an advantage — offering dignity in this life and carnal rewards in the one that follows. But it’s not just about sex. Far from a pure insurgency, the Taliban is increasingly positioning itself as a shadow government, promising to provide for citizens’ basic needs where the government has not. Bashing the corruption of Kabul has become a central pillar of the group’s psychological warfare — which one senior Afghan official recently called 80 percent of the Taliban’s fight.