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Taliban Propaganda

Posted August. 08, 2007 03:02,   


The Taliban is a political group aiming to realize Islamic fundamentalism. The group was in power from 1996 to 2001 and wanted to establish “the purest Islamist state in the world” in Afghanistan. It bans movies and TVs and forces women to wear traditional clothing.

Taking the past of the Taliban into consideration, one may find many things awkward. This is because the Taliban used to ban media technology in the past but now they are actually taking advantage of it.

According to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), entitled “The Taliban’s Propaganda Activities,” the Taliban uses flyers, and the Internet, which used to be banned in the past, as means of propaganda activity.

The report says that since Afghanistan is home to various races and tribes, the importance of propaganda activity is growing. Therefore, the Taliban is imitating Al Qaeda. Tim Foxley, an analyst with the British Ministry of Defence, is the writer of this report.

“Night letters” to neighbors-

Only 3.7 out of 1,000 Afghans have TV sets and 6.2 have radios. In this situation, the “night letter,” a type of flyer attached to house gates, is the most effective way to advertise. In many cases, these “night letters” are threats: do not send your daughters to school; do not cooperate with the U.S. army. There have been many cases when religious leaders of tribes, accused as spies for the U.S. army, were lynched and schools were bombed after the delivery of “night letters.”

The Taliban has enhanced their propaganda activities by ruling the courts and imposing Sharia law (Muslim law) in regions where administration of justice has collapsed. The number of people relying on the Taliban’s law system is increasing, and people are saying that it is more just that they regard the Karzai administration as corrupt.

Active use of new media-

Flyers and face-to-face contacts are limited physically. Therefore, the Taliban makes and circulates DVDs and CDs containing executions of spies and sudden attacks. Also, though the quality is low, the Taliban posts news and video clips on their own Internet homepage.

The Taliban thinks advertising themselves through the media is key. It even has a separate “media committee” which is in charge of making and announcing statements, and they use their spokesperson as a mediator. The spokesperson of the Taliban allegedly lives in Pakistan and has interviews with overseas media via fax machines, cell phones, and satellite phones.

The first Taliban spokesperson after the collapse of the Taliban was Abdul Latiff Hakimi. There were three more successors including Mohammed Hanif after the arrest of Hakimi by the Pakistan government. Nobody knows who the spokesperson for the Taliban is now.

The media puts “purported” in front of Qari Yousuf Ahmadi who is known as the spokesperson for the Taliban these days.

The effects of the Taliban’s propaganda activities-

When compared to the Al Qaeda, the report says that the Taliban’s publicity activity falls far behind. The Taliban’s capacity for propaganda activity is often exaggerated.

The report points out that the Taliban is mainly focusing on the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, but has failed in suggesting long-term visions related to Afghanistan’s economic development or security issues, which are necessary for coming to power again.