In the image, a map of Afghanistan is shown with a flag pitched in its center, displaying the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger). This designates Afghanistan as an important theater for jihad, and implies a national obligation to join the struggle in order to establish a true Islamic state. At the same time, by juxtaposing the country map with a picture of the earth, the image is attempting to show that Afghanistan is an integral part of a broader, global jihadi movement. Indeed, jihadi visual propaganda often uses images of the globe/planet earth in order to globalize specific issues and conflicts, as well as to articulate the global aims/nature of particular groups. The caption reads “silsilat ya khayl Allah irkibi,” referring to a series of publications or shows entitled “O cavalry of God, ride!” The title evokes a famous hadith (prophetic tradition or report) in Islamic historiography, in which the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mu‘tasim (d. 842. A.D.) calls out to his troops “ride, O cavalry of God” before embarking on a jihad against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus and ultimately defeating them in 838 A.D. The analogy to the current jihadi struggle with superior Western forces is obvious.

More Information
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black, white
Secondary Colors red
Language Arabic
Visual or Textual Reference to Ancient / Medieval Events
Date EntryAnalysis Entry
838 A.D. battle of Anzen against the Byzantines
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Ya khayl Allah irkibi
Image Number 0073
Groups Region of Operation South Asia
Groups Country of Operation Afghanistan
Geopolitical Symbols Country / Regional Map, Non-country Flag, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Afghanistan
Religious Textual References Hadith Text, Shahada, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners

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