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Taliban boosts propaganda with English tweets

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Taliban boosts propaganda with English tweets

Post by Justin_Romile on Mon May 16, 2011 10:21 pm

In a move seen as an expansion of its propaganda's reach beyond the Afghan world, the Taliban has recently started posting messages in English on its Twitter account several months after tweeting only in pure Pashto, one of the Middle Eastern country's official languages.

Social media blog Mashable reports that the account, @alemarahweb, was opened in late-2010 and has since posted more than 700 tweets in Pashtun.

It reported mainly on death tolls and reports of insurgent efforts against the Taliban's enemies, and contained links to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan's official website.

On Thursday (Wednesday in the US), the account sent out its first English-language tweet, detailing its attack on an enemy in the Khak-e-Safid district, leaving six "puppet police" dead and a few others wounded.

The next English-language tweets detailed casualties of "Operation Badar," the group's spring offensive against its enemies, announced on May 1.

A study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on the Taliban's propaganda activities say the group's use of the Internet appeal to a particular democratic.

"The relentless footage of ambushes, night attacks and improvised explosive device (IED) strikes available on video, CD and the Internet is likely to appeal to young, poor Afghan or Pakistani would-be jihadists, particularly refugees," it said.

The Taliban's recent decision to tweet in English, however, is seen as a move to cater its messages to an international audience.

Despite publicly denouncing the Internet as wrong and unholy in 2001, the Taliban have maintained a few online presences, including an official website and a YouTube account.

While the website is updated very frequently—often on a daily basis—the group's YouTube account contains only two videos uploaded about a year ago.

Its Twitter account, as of writing, has more than 2,000 followers, and is following 12 other accounts, some of which belong to foreign troops deployed in Afghanistan and to groups conducting support operations in the country. — TJD, GMA News
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