How the Taliban Turned Social Media Into a Tool for Control

Last Friday, when Taliban forces took the key metropolis of Herat, they distributed photographs and movies of militia leaders posing with Ismail Khan, a well-known native commander and Taliban opponent, displaying him unrestrained and showing comfortable.

The message was clear, mentioned Mr. Sayed: “If we can treat Ismail Khan, a top enemy, with such respect, there will not be danger for anyone.”

In Kabul, many Taliban-trained journalists have been busy on the streets, typically holding a microphone with the brand of the group’s propaganda web site. In one video posted to the Twitter account of the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, a reporter interviews residents in Kabul’s Shahr-e Naw space. When he asks a younger boy about the takeover of the capital, the boy responds, “We are happy and have been living in peace.”

While some have responded positively to the messaging, the digital switch of energy has despatched a shock throughout Afghanistan’s best-connected cities. Many of the voices that will as soon as argue again in opposition to Taliban posts have gone silent for worry of retribution. Digital rights teams have mentioned that many individuals with ties to the former authorities or the United States have closed social media profiles, left discussion groups and deleted previous messages.

Earlier this week, when Mr. Mujahid introduced a information convention in a broadly used WhatsApp journalist group, some members dropped out of the chat. One, who labored for overseas media and who requested for anonymity, fearing retaliation, mentioned that journalists who had written critically about the Taliban have been anxious about a backlash.

Even so, social media carried some indicators of resistance. On Tuesday, a video of a small group of ladies protesting in Kabul in the presence of Taliban fighters was shared broadly. The subsequent day, movies of an incident in Jalalabad through which the Taliban opened hearth on a group of youth, who had eliminated the militants’ flag and changed it with that of the fallen Afghan authorities, went viral.

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