KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — No Taliban militants died in the month of March, marking the first such event since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, insurgent officials said.
It is only the fourth such month no Afghan died violently since 330 BCE, when the Macedonians defeated Darius III and briefly occupied the mountain region.
Taliban sources were quick to point out honor killings, beheadings, and other executions weren’t considered combat-related deaths since those who sought to harm the interests of the Islamic world pretty much deserved it.
Although critics have pointed out that during this time at least 23 fighters died while carrying out suicide bombings, Taliban officials insisted that those didn’t count as combat fatalities, but were part of tragic epidemic which the organization has been struggling to bring under control with Shahid awareness training.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal area, Taliban militants observed the occasion on Thursday with a circle of celebratory gunfire, shouting “God is great!” as they fired automatic weapons in the air. Nearby villagers gathered to watch the celebration, noting that any party was worth attending, despite having to put off their usual daytime activity of staring at rocks for hours.
The celebratory gunfire killed 37 bystanders, including 12 Taliban, and wounded countless others. Also among the dead were 16 goats which had been brought in for what one Taliban commander described as an “after party.”
“My goat Bahara was sadly killed,” lamented one Taliban gunman. “Now who will I bring to the Taliban birthday ball?”