For years the Taliban forbid photography, TV, movies, use of the internet, kite flying, women’s rights, and much of what the world would consider “modern” because they were “un-Islamic”. However, after a few years of the beginning of the US-led ISAF military involvement in Afghanistan against the Taliban, the Taliban actually started to use Twitter, a social media platform that is very much a part of the internet (and can be used to share photographs and videos while we are at it).
When I first heard about this, I was really surprised. It seemed very hypocritical to me, and I suspect many others. I had assumed that the first article I read about it was focusing on perhaps just a small area, but from the reading I have done since then it seems to show that the use of Twitter by the Taliban is much more widespread than I had first suspected.
Here are two articles I found that give good overviews. I highly suggest you take a look at them both.
- The first is from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which talks about the Taliban’s use of Twitter and other social media to spread propaganda and dis-information.
- The Taliban’s Internet Strategy; September 9, 2011.
- The second is a report from the online magazine Perspectives of Terrorism, on the use of Twitter by the Taliban starting in May 2011 to disseminate information and dis-information, usually to make their efforts appear to be much more effective than in reality. The report is presented in a much more academic fashion; focusing on the events of the summer of 2012 as its examples. Among many interesting points that it mentions is that much of the Tweets sent out by the Taliban where actually written in English.
- The Taliban and Twitter: Tactical Reporting and Strategic Messaging Vol.8, No. 6 (2014)
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AfghanTwiBird by Haphazardtaylorings is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
It is based upon Mountain Castle Ruins by Josh Zakary (CC BY NC 2.0) and twitter-667462_1280.png by lonaug (CC0 Public Domain)