Located in sunny Herat and financed by the private fortune of an Afghan warlord, the Jihad Museum is a G.I. Joe nightmare of giant plastic action figures murdering each other.
Paying tribute to the war against the Russians, the museum looks like a demented version of Team America World Police that someone dedicated to take seriously.
The exhibits run the gamut from ugly to fake. The dioramas reconstruct scenes of Afghans killing Russians and women in blue Burkas cheering their enslavement. The attackers leer savagely seeming more villainous than the Russians even in their own museum.
The Jihad Museum tops anything you can find even in North Korean propaganda. It’s like the work of a vicious five year-old brought to life with historical battle scenes arranged to look like a kid playing with demented toy soldiers.
Don’t let the lighting tricks fool you. Up close this is all Team America World Police.
But it’s not all plastic toys in the Jihad Museum.
Rows of Russian rifles, clusters of grenades and an impressive collection of plastic land mines fill glass cases in the museum’s foyer. “The Afghan security forces today don’t even have this level of equipment,” Qattali joked.
The gardens of the museum display some of his most prized memorabilia: Russian helicopters, fighter jets and rocket launchers, all captured by the Mujahideen and on show, framed by well-kept rose bushes.
But Jihad is inner struggle. Isn’t it?