They are usually associated with decapitation, suicide bombings, and AK-47s, but the Taliban and Islamic State are now fighting each other with tweets, memes, and video sharing as weapons.
The collapse of Afghanistan has triggered an eerie media battle in which one of the Islamic extremists, the Taliban, occupies the mainstream social media hills and the enemy IS snipers them from the darkest corners of the Internet. rice field. Supporters work in the shadows.
“There is a media war,” says Mina Al Lami, who has been tracking jihad media for 15 years as the editorial leader of BBC Monitoring. “IS loves to be in the limelight and they have to get angry at all the attention to the Taliban. IS hates the Taliban – they are stubborn rivals . “
Since seizing power in Kabul, the Taliban have been able to control its public image domestically and internationally. With foreign governments refraining from ruling on the new Afghan administration, Taliban officials have noticed that they can openly post to global social media platforms.
It’s most obvious on Twitter, says Charlie Winter, a senior researcher at King’s College London’s International Center for Radicalization Studies. “Before the acquisition, there were many Taliban officials working secretly on Twitter,” he says. “It has changed a lot and there are hundreds of Taliban officials and fighters who are openly and explicitly active as members of the Taliban on Twitter.”
The Taliban also seized Afghanistan’s national television broadcast. Instead of relying on its clunky websites and monthly magazines ArsomoodBroadcast leaders to reach the wider population of Afghanistan to reach supporters and amplify messages on social media with tweets in Dari, Pashto, Arabic and English. “The Taliban’s media priorities have been dramatically rearranged according to their current position in Afghanistan,” says Winter.
Talibs also has communication chief Zabihullah Mujahid. This is a name that has been familiar to Western journalists for years and has finally become a physical body (though some may wonder if it’s the same person). He provides controlled messaging on foreign aid, women’s rights and medical assistance to drug users.
It’s a “sophisticated social media and public relations campaign,” says Al-Lami. “Their accounts are always crowded with tweets, promotions and videos. They are all very positive and project this image of a moderate group.” Mujahid has about 400,000 Twitter followers. , My colleague Suhail Shaheen, who runs an English account, has more than 500,000 people.
For most jihadist groups around the world, including al-Qaeda affiliates, the Taliban’s seize of power has sparked a wave of celebration in their media. “Online, there is a lot of delight within the jihadist community about the Taliban,” says Arlami. “It dazzled and stimulated the jihadist group.”
Excludes IS. Since the collapse of the Salafiist “caliphate”, terrorist groups have been carried out online and on the ground. The days of terrorizing the world with decapitation videos and cleverly crafted recruitment messages to western jihad posted on Facebook and Twitter are over.
Today, it is reported that Rocket Chat, a secret open source platform, has a digital location that allows users to build servers without the risk of sharing data. IS uses another open source platform to host a vast archive of propaganda videos and terrorist manuals. It was discovered last year, but is still active and beyond the authorities.
In particular, IS leverages Telegram, an encrypted cloud-based chat platform, with 12 channels in multiple languages under the news agency’s black and orange logo. Nacil (‘Wholesale trader’). From here it directs an attack on the Taliban. It claims the credit of America’s bloody departure from Kabul and casts doubt on the ideology of Talib’s Deobandi Muslims.
“They have said that the Taliban were American minions and were given Afghanistan on a platter,” says Arlami. Rocket Chat IS material and IS weekly newspaper anti-Taliban editorial ArnavaIs spread throughout the Internet by “media jihadists” who have been put into action by IS. “There are reminders that the Mujahideen brothers are sacrificing their lives in battle to make these videos, but what’s the point if your supporters aren’t willing to share them?”
Media jihadists were early adopters of online forums before moving to Twitter in 2012. After being banished from that platform, he ran through media hideouts, from the Russian platforms VK and TamTam to the blockchain messaging app BCM. IS is anxious for the media profile it once had and what the Taliban is currently using. “They want to join TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube as well as Twitter,” says Al-Lami. “There they can acquire potential recruits and send threatening messages to the west.” Meanwhile, IS turns its bile to the new Afghan regime instead.
“They want to join TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube as well as Twitter,” says Al-Lami. “There they can acquire potential recruits and send threatening messages to the west.” Instead, IS directs its bile to the new Afghan regime.