The People's Daily, a newspaper produced by China's ruling communist party, has either been hilariously pranked or has out-reported every news outlet in Afghanistan to secure the scoop of the century. The outlet today reports that the Taliban in Afghanistan is "training monkeys to use weapons to attack American troops." After 16 years of war and nine years of battling the U.S., the Islamist insurgents have decided to arm monkeys with "AK-47 rifles and Bren light machine guns in the Waziristan tribal region near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan."
The Chinese author, who apparently believes that PETA is more influential than the 31 percent of Americans who oppose the Afghan war, tries to explain what's happening. "Analysts believe that apart from using 'monkey killers' to attack the American troops, the Taliban also sought to arouse Western animal protectionists to pressure their governments to withdraw troops from Afghanistan."
Ace blogger and journalist Steve Hynd uncovered this strange article, adding, "I have no idea where China's People's Daily got this or what it thinks it's doing by publishing it, but it's too weird/funny not to pass along. ... Banana Akhbar!" It's not clear what species of monkey is involved in the alleged jihad, but the most likely may be the mischievous Rhesus Macaque, which can be found in parts of Afghanistan.
Oddly, the People's Daily article cites an unnamed "British-based media agency" and insists, "The report and photos have been widely spread by media agencies and Web sites across the world." As if the story were not strange enough, it ends with this bit of history, which Hynd confirms has no actual basis:
Ironically, the initiators of "monkey soldiers" are the Americans. Between the 1960s and the 1970s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trained massive "monkey soldiers" in the Vietnam War and dispatched armed monkeys to dangerous jungles to launch assaults on Vietnamese soldiers. Today, the Taliban forces have given the American troops some of their own medicine.
When armed animals enter interpersonal wars, what kind of world will we face? This cannot but arouse our reflections and concerns.
The Atlantic Wire cannot speak for everyone but our reflections have certainly been aroused.
Update: See also: U.S. Military Fights Taliban Monkey Rumors