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Indian Youtuber Became The Host And Hostage Of Taliban



The Kerala-based Youtuber Maheen S recently visited Afghanistan, and his time in Afghanistan was eventful, to say the least.  Mr. Maheen was on a hitchhiking trip throughout Central Asia, where an Uzbek citizen briefed him about Afghanistan; subsequently, he decided to visit Afghanistan.

He claims to be the first Indian Youtuber to visit Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover last December. His Youtube channel 'Hitchhikingnomad' has more than 500000 subscribers. He offered Talibani a pack of banana chips, an authentic Kerala food. Talibani who tasted it gave a thumbs up! The Taliban armed personnel later escorted him to parks and other public places, all of which have been documented and posted on his youtube and other social media platforms. 


According to the YouTuber, not everything about Afghanistan is scary. The public parks are still functioning in Kabul with only one change. It has been divided into men's as well as women's areas. “The places I have stayed were good hosts and gave me food and shelter”. Added Mr. Maheen. He was given a chance to use the ultramodern weapons the Taliban accumulated from the United States leftovers, which included snipers and M16s. The easy availability of such endangering weapons baffled the young social media influencer.


The Youtuber had to endure the bitterest of experiences in Afghanistan as well. He was put in jail and assaulted by the Taliban soldiers. While Mr. Maheen was on a bus to Kandahar, his Mobile Phone and Camera were captured by fellow Talibani travelers fearing he was an ISIS infiltrator. His belongings were only given back when he reached Kandahar, a city in southern Afghanistan and the second largest after Kabul. \


Mr. Maheen wanted to visit Pakistan via Afghanistan. Since India and Pakistan are hostile due to present and historical reasons, human movement between the two countries is limited. He tried to apply for a Pakistani visa through its embassy in Kabul. Unfortunately, According to the Youtuber, the Pakistan embassy was working closed doors as it received a bomb threat saying an Indian would attack the embassy. Mr. Maheen was the wrong person at the wrong time as the Taliban mistook the Youtuber for a terrorist, and he was taken into custody. As described by the Youtuber, he had a horrific experience. He was beaten several times and blindfolded before being escorted to prison. In prison, he was met by a Taliban officer, who interrogated him and eventually set him free. According to the Youtuber, he contacted his friend, the son of Ustad Yasir, a former Taliban commander who died at a Pakistan jail in 2012. He gave up his plans to visit Pakistan and eventually crossed the border to Iran. The Youtuber feared that the agencies might capture and interrogate him in Pakistan since he holds an Indian passport.


Mr. Maheen received a mixed review about his visit to Afghanistan from Kerala. Some viewers complemented his bravery in traveling to an unstable Afghanistan, whereas others criticized him for normalizing the Taliban’s draconic laws. He is currently exploring the Middle East and is expected to wind up the journey by the end of this month.


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