Following the capture of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, five Taliban-linked websites were shut down by Taliban militants.
As the Taliban continued to gain control of the country, they were central to how the group delivered messages to people inside and outside Afghanistan. All five public speaking stations in Afghanistan and neighboring regions operate in a variety of languages, including Pashto, Dari, Urdu, Arabic and English.
It is not clear why the websites did not exist, but public information about the websites indicates that each of them used Cloudflare, a major Internet service provider. The Washington Post first reported the termination.
Cloudflare did not immediately respond to comments. The company strongly opposes censorship or download of customer websites based on their content, but has made some differences.
A.D. In 2017, Cloneflare shut down the Daily Stommer, a neo-Nazi website that had been used to plan riots in Charlottesville, Virginia that summer, causing the website to be offline. A.D. In 2019, Cloudflare also stopped serving 8chan, Texas, following a shooting that killed 23 people after it was reported to the 8chan Manifesto.
The failed websites are the result of some technology companies’ actions against the Taliban. Throughout the week, the Taliban used WhatsApp groups in Afghanistan to send messages about their government control. But some Taliban WhatsApp groups have recently disappeared. According to SITE, A private spy agency that monitors extremist groups.
As WhatsApp is encrypted, the company cannot read the content of user messages. But WhatsApp spokesman Allison Bonnie said the company was blocking Taliban accounts when it became aware of them under US sanctions. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.
“We are looking for more information from relevant US officials, given the situation in Afghanistan,” Bonnie said.
The State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations does not include the Taliban in Afghanistan, but the Taliban in Pakistan. The Taliban are listed as banned by the Afghan Treasury Department.
The key members of the Afghan Taliban continue to work on Twitter, including the group’s spokesman Suhail Shah, who has more than 377,000 followers.
Katie Rossboro, a spokeswoman for Twitter, said the company was “committed to protecting people by providing a platform for journalists and human rights workers who use Twitter to share their message in countries such as Afghanistan.” ”
Twitter has laws against hate speech, abuse, and violence, but it has not commented on the larger Twitter accounts of Taliban members.
Facebook security chief Nathaniel Glecher on Thursday unveiled new tools to help people better protect their social media accounts in the wake of reports that the Taliban have seized photos of the Afghan army or recently captured the Afghan government. Facebook has previously blocked all Taliban content.
David Mortlock, a former US State Department specialist who served under the Obama administration, has ruled that Clarflare, another cloud company, or other US company, may have worked with him. Self-government.
He also said that technology companies could be under pressure from the government.
“Treasury and the government often contact both US and non-US companies to seek sanctions or sanctions against those who support terrorist groups such as the Taliban,” he wrote. And they may be doing so now to restrict access to Taliban hosting services.
Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.