Metallica vs. the Taliban

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Let's say you're fighting a complex, eight-year-long war against multiple insurgencies in Afghanistan, a country that hasn't seen peace in over three decades. What do you do? Members of the U.S. Marine Corps have a new strategy seemingly ripped from the playbook of American teenagers angry at their parents: Blast Metallica. The Agence France-Presse's Karim Talbi reports that some Marines, hoping to irritate their Taliban enemy, have taken to playing American rock music so loud that it can be heard a mile away:

The playlist has been hand-selected to annoy the Taliban, according to one US special forces officer. "Taliban hate that music," said the sergeant involved in covert psychological operations, or "psy ops", in the area in Helmand province.

"Some locals complain but it's a way to push them to choose. It's motivating Marines as well," he added after one deafening round of several hours including tracks from The Offspring, Metallica and Thin Lizzy. The officer said they also broadcast messages from the Afghan government, as well as threats to the Taliban -- there are no obscenities, "but we tell them they're gonna die", he smiled.

But it looks like some of these Marines are about to be grounded. When Talbi asked their commander about the music, he responded that he had not been aware. ""I'm going to ask this to stop right now," he said, calling the tactic "inappropriate."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.