MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — The unassuming white leather high-top sneakers with green-and-yellow trim are a best seller for a roughly half-dozen shoe vendors in a sprawling bazaar in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
But they are not in demand because they’re the latest fashion trend. For many Afghans, the sneakers evoke only one emotion: fear.
That’s because they’re beloved by Taliban fighters as a status symbol even as they have become a gruesome marker of an unending war, the sneakers’ white silhouette often cutting across Afghanistan’s battlefields of dirt, sand and blood.
Called Cheetahs, the sneakers are produced by Servis Shoes,