A Pakistani man is determined to maintain his impressive lip weasel despite death threats from the Taliban. Malik Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi, a resident of the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on the Afghan border, is currently in hiding with his moustache.
Mr. Afridi’s face furniture originally measured 30 inches from tip to tip, easily making it a trophy-winning smasher in any other country. But a splinter group of the Taliban declared his moustache to be “un-Islamic” and demanded $500 a month in “protection money” if he didn’t shave it off.
Mr. Afridi refused, and was promptly kidnapped and held hostage in a cave by the Lashkar-e-Islam group for a month. He began to fear for his life, and only then agreed to shave off the tache. He fled to Peshawar, went into hiding and began to grow it back.
As soon as the moustache had reached similarly dazzling proportions – which requires half an hour a day of grooming – the death threats began again. To keep his wife and ten children safe, Mr. Afridi went on the run, and today sees them only rarely. He is supported in his stance against the Taliban by the local administration, which pays him a “moustache bursary” of $50 a month, as a symbolic gesture of the state’s appreciation for the bravery and virility associated with a moustache.