Taliban criticises "We Believe in Balloons" event in Kabul, Afghanistan

Online article decries 'mini-skirt show' after pink balloons handed out in the capital

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The Independent Online

The Taliban has scorned an art project - in which volunteers gave out 10,000 pink balloons in Afghanistan - as an "undercover way" of encouraging un-Islamic behaviour.

On Saturday 100 volunteers distributed the "peace" balloons to people in the capital, Kabul.

According to the AFP agency, an article on the group's official website - in Pashto and titled "Was it a balloon show or a mini-skirt show?" - said the event was a trick to engender Western values among the volunteers who handed out the balloons.

The author, Qari Habib, said: "The West is using different techniques to promote their culture in Afghanistan. Sometimes they do it in an undercover way.

"Some girls were without headscarves, with tight jeans and tops on, and even with mini-skirts on the streets. The boys were also dressed in Western-style outfits.

"After distributing some balloons, they wandered around Kabul aiming to break the culture of hijab," referring to the culture of modesty in Islam that covers conduct and dress codes for males and females.

Yazmany Arboleda, a 31-year-old New York artist who organised the event, said it was designed to highlight young Afghans' creativity and sense of fun in a city wrecked by decades of war.

Called "We Believe In Balloons", it was paid for by individuals and groups around the world sponsoring each balloon for $1.