Somalia rebels looking increasingly like Taliban

Men are forced to grow beards. Women can`t leave home without a male relative.

Updated: Aug 22, 2010, 20:52 PM IST

Mogadishu: Men are forced to grow beards.
Women can`t leave home without a male relative. Music, movies
and watching sports on TV are banned. Limbs are chopped off as
punishment, and executions by stoning have become a public
spectacle.

Somalia is looking more and more like Afghanistan under
the Taliban, two rugged countries 2,000 miles apart, each
lacking a central government, each with a hard-line Islamist
militia that cows the public into submission.

Al-Shabab in Somalia and the Taliban in Afghanistan,
their tactics increasingly mirror each other. Those tactics
worked for the Taliban until the US invasion overthrew it in
2001, and now they are making a comeback.

Meanwhile, al-Shabab has gained control over large
swaths of this arid Horn of Africa country.

In the latest adoption of tactics long used by the Afghan
militants, al-Shabab is ordering households in southern
Somalia to contribute a boy to the militants` ranks. Childless
families have to pay al-Shabab USD 50 a month. That`s
Somalia`s per capita income.

An al-Shabab commander attributed the shared tactics and
ideology to the fact that both groups follow a strict form of
Islam.

"One more thing we deeply share is the hatred of
infidels," the commander, Abu Dayib, told a news agency.

PTI