How the Taliban turned social media into a control tool

Last Friday, when Taliban forces captured the key city of Herat, they broadcast images and videos of prominent militia leaders and Taliban opposition leader Ismail Khan, who appeared indiscriminately and easily.

The message was clear: “If we can treat such a great enemy Ishmael Khan with such respect, there will be no danger to anyone.”

In Kabul, many Taliban-trained journalists are busy on the streets, often carrying microphones with the group’s propaganda site. In a video posted on his Twitter account to Taliban spokesman Zabilah Mujahid, a reporter interviewed residents of the Kabul Shahr Naw area. When asked by a young man about the invasion of the capital, the boy replied: “We are happy and we are living in peace.”

While some have responded positively to the message, digital power transfer has shocked Afghanistan’s best-connected cities. Many voices in the Taliban’s post have been silenced for fear of reprisals. Digital rights groups say many people with ties to the former government or the United States have deleted social media profiles, left chat groups and old messages.

Mr. Mujahid announced a news conference with a large group of WhatsApp journalists this week, and some members interrupted the discussion. One, who worked for the foreign media and asked for anonymity, said journalists who wrote about the Taliban were afraid of retaliation.

Still, social media carries some signs of resistance. Tuesday, video of a small group of women Protests in Kabul It is widely shared in front of Taliban fighters. The next day, videos of the Taliban shooting down a group of youths who had replaced the fallen Afghan government were released.

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