Afghan Bodybuilders Pump Iron Amid War; ‘Arnold’ Idolized

Afghan Bodybuilders Pump Iron Amid War; ‘Arnold’ Idolized

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Based on total signage space, Arnold Schwarzenegger may be the second most popular man in Afghanistan.

First place indisputably goes to Ahmed Shah Massoud, the mythic guerilla leader assassinated by al-Qaeda agents in 2001 after decades of fighting the Soviets and the Taliban. His image is venerated with a fervor that borders on the religious in government ministries, street side cafes and on bumper stickers.

But take a drive around the capital known for its modesty, and massive homemade billboards of the shirtless former Mr. Olympia turned action star turned California governor are hard to miss. The message is clear: Afghans are getting pumped up.

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