Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 24th, 2020

Taliban Propaganda and Social-Networking Tools

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Taliban Propaganda and  Social-Networking Tools

Taliban's Voice of Jihad website has released a video that features interviews and trainings of the nine suicide bombers who attacked the US Embassy and NATO Headquarters in Kabul on September 13 last year. Severn Afghans were killed and 19 wounded. Afghan security forces had gunned down all the attackers after a 19-hours siege and firefight.

I did a review and summary of the video for the Middle East Media Research Institute's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor project. Though you might have read about the active presence of Taliban propaganda online—with their website regularly updating news in five languages and putting latest videos—the live twitter-update of their recent attack on a resort at Qargha lake not only shows their effective usage of modern technology, but also the fact that social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the video-sharing Youtube, have given free hand to terrorists for propaganda and hate speech inciting violence.

While going through their Youtube accounts, I came across several videos showing gruesome footage of militant attacks on Afghan Government installations and bloodied US soldiers. There are many videos in which narrators are talking of Jihad and urging Afghans to join their 'Jihad' against the US and its NATO allies.

These videos on Youtube are in clear violation of the website's Terms of Use and US laws. When I was receiving live-update of Qargha attack from Taliban feed on timeline, I wondered about the Twitter 'terms of use' in which it is clearly written that any account or user inciting violence and threats will not be allowed use of service.

Many groups linked to Al-Qaeda are using social networking tools to promote their cause, and the social networking websites have not bothered to take action against these terrorist organizations using their services for propaganda, inciting violent and spreading hate messages.

I receive regular updates from official feed of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, on my twitter timeline. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other such websites should delete all such accounts that represent terror groups or promote their ideology of hate and violence. Lashakar is on the list of Foreign Terrorists Organization of the US State Department, but twitter has allowed the group to run an account.

The US Government and Congress should take legal action and sue websites like Twitter and Youtube for the videos inciting violence against Americans. Recently some congressmen had asked Twitter to delete accounts related to terror groups, but the company has not taken any action yet.

Coming back to the latest Taliban video, their Voice of Jihad website is running a series of Fateh (Victorious) Caravan with footages of attacks on the US, NATO and Afghan forces and hate speech inciting violence. The one-hour long video, available on Youtube, features interviews of the nine suicide bombers with footages of their training, exercise and the day of attack.

The video starts with Quranic verses about Jihad followed by TV footages of Twin Towers' collapse with background commentary saying the US invaded Afghanistan despite Afghans had no hand in 9/11 attacks. "It was reaction by the victims of atrocities in Palestine, Iraq and other Islamic countries. Other Western powers should learn lesson from 9/11 attacks and change their policy of interference. But they continue to impose their systems in Islamic countries." The background commentary continues with footages of the 2005 London bombings, and news voice-overs of financial crisis in the West.

"In the name of Urdu Millie (National Army), they have brought drug addicts, dacoits and former militias who loot people in uniform," says the narrator with TV news footage of a woman raped by some private guards of a provincial governor in Northern Afghanistan.

The video continues with footage of US forces breaking into houses during search operations and gathering women and children amid their screams, with the narrator saying, "You must withdraw your forces as soon as possible. With the grace of Allah, we will take revenge for all the destruction. You should study our history; we have defeated all invaders from English to Soviets. Do not think that all Afghans are ready to become your puppets. There are many who will stand to defend their religion and motherland. All your military operations from Anaconda to Khanjar [names of ISAF operations in Southern Afghanistan in summer 2011] have failed in front of our Al-Fatah and Al-Badr operations."

With footage of militant attacks and bomb blasts on Government buildings in Kabul and other provinces, the narrator says the US military strategists are confused and die of heart attacks, others are fired, referring to late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's demise because of a heart attack and General McChrystal's forced resignation over the comments about President Obama in the Rolling Stone interview.

All the nine attackers are interviewed. They all have Southern/Kandahari accent of Pashto. Below are some excerpts from the interviews of suicide bombers urging others to join their terrorism in the name of Jihad.
Mullah Khyal Muhammad: "The warriors of Islam have stood against infidels at all times. And with grace of Allah, we are ready for sacrifice with our blood. Allah has promised us big rewards if we are injured or martyred."

Hafiz Esmatullah: Quoting Quranic verses and Hadith, asks all Muslims particularly traders and business community to support Taliban.

Hazrat Muhammad: "What has happened to you when you see infidel invaders killing your innocent children and you do not react? You must stand for the honor of your religion and motherland."
Hamza: "Those who do not join Jihad and sit at homes, if you are afraid of death, you cannot escape death. One day everyone has to die. Your logic is weak and wrong. I swear to Allah, joining Jihad does not increase chances of your death or bring you close to it. Or those who say they have children and family. Allah has said true followers of Islam are always ready to sacrifice for Him."

Mullah Abdul Shafi: "Dear brothers, I have joined this martyrdom mission, I have no family problem, any deadly disease or for financial purposes. My only purpose is the pleasure of Allah. The infidels have come to many Islamic countries. They want to bring their infidel ideas and lifestyle and impose on our Islamic culture and change our way of living. We must stand against them."

Mullah Abdul Qadir: "I want to tell my parents that when they hear the news of my martyrdom, they should not mourn, but be happy for the pleasure of Allah. Allah is always with victors. Please forgive me for any misbehavior and remember me in your prayers".

Hafiz Zaheenullah: "I want to tell my parents and siblings that when they hear of my martyrdom, they should not mourn, but thank Allah. I ask for prayers of my parents. My brothers should thank Allah for my martyrdom, serve parents and join Jihad."

The video concludes with eulogies in the background claims of Taliban victory.

Abbas Daiyar is a staff writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at Abbas.daiyar@gmail.comHe tweets at http://twitter.com/#!/AbasDaiyar

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