Kabul - Amongst the new freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the beleaguered Afghan capital, the right to free expression has possibly been the most widely excercised over the last few weeks. No shortage of opinions, even those of the most controversial variety, are coming out of the mouths of the war weary denizens of Afghanistan.
In what will surely be a surprise to Western diplomats, an overwhelming 80' of 1000 Afghan men surveyed preferred that women continue to don clothing covering their faces. This strict practice, inextricably linked to the Taliban regime, has apparently gained supporters among even the more moderate male community.
It would, however, be a mistake to take this as a deep-rooted philosophical conversion, for the true reason is far from transcendental.
"For the love of all mighty Allah, these women are butt ugly," lamented Northern Alliance freedom fighter Omar Wallid just hours after liberating the city.
"The sheer amount of rough faces in this town has completely taken the steam out of our sails. Obviously we had a lot of rape, plunder, and pillage thoughts on our minds as we marched in, you know the stereotypical 'stuff to do after a liberation' things, but now that we've seen what we are dealing with, we'll probably be moving out tomorrow."
The emotion on the young man's face can barely be concealed, yet pales in comparison to that of Ahmed Ali Wazik.
"For five years I dated a girl but never could see her face because of the Taliban. My father had arranged the whole marriage between our two families and everything was spot on until yesterday. She came over to the house without her veil, and as great Allah is my witness, she is one fiendish munter, that girl!"
"Needless to say, I called everything off and was disowned by my father and now have to crash at a friend's guest tent. Thanks international coalition!"
Although representatives of the European Union refused to comment on the survey, one unidentified English diplomat said that he too "could fully empathize with people living in a country full of rough birds."