The Taliban Is Unimpressed by Pakistani McDonald's

A McDonald's location in Karachi, Pakistan.

© Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Gillie Houston Posted May 03, 2016

The militant group isn't lovin' it.

The mega chain known for its golden arches, Big Mac, and all-you-can-eat fries recently opened up shop in one of Pakistan's most dangerous militant hideouts, drawing criticism from an unexpected source. The city of Quetta, which is the reputed home of the Taliban's ruling council, just got its first-ever McDonald's—and it turns out the militant group isn't lovin' it.

"We don't even consider it as food," one Taliban member recently told NBC News. Though McDonald's tailored the location's menu to please Pakistani patrons: eliminating pork products, guaranteeing all items are halal, and offering a gyro-like wrap called the "McArabia," some locals are less-than-impressed.

When asked about his thoughts on the addition to the neighborhood, senior Taliban commander Ehsanullah Ehsan—a spokesman for the group—broke out in laughter, saying, "Hahahaha, so you are asking me about McDonald's food... we will never eat it." So if not a McArabia, what exactly is a Taliban commander's go-to meal? According to one member, mutton and rice is a particular favorite of the group.

"We live in the rough, tough mountainous areas and need energy and power to fight against the enemy," Ehsan says. Of course, the quality of food isn't the only misgiving the Taliban has towards the chain. "We know it's an American food company and our religious scholars have forbidden us from consuming any Western food and beverages," one senior member adds.

However, other non-militant residents of the city welcome the addition of the Western chai. One local doctor says he's hopeful "that our city will get other international food chains too." As for the success of the McArabia itself? Only time will tell.

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