Taliban's PR offensive falters

Taliban's PR offensive falters

In the last few days, TV crews from Afghanistan's Al-Emarah Studio, which produces pro-Taliban multimedia content, have been out on the streets of Kabul speaking to residents with reassuring messages about life returning to normal.

“How confident are you?” asked an interviewer with a Al-Emarah microphone in the city centre. “100%,” came the reply. “Security is good, there are no thieves, we are very happy.”

The message is in sharp contrast to the chaos in parts of Kabul since the Islamist militants swept in last Sunday after a lightning conquest of Afghanistan.

Thousands of people have swarmed around the airport, desperate to escape amid fears of reprisals by the insurgents and harsh Islamic law now that they are back in power.

It has presented one of the toughest tests yet for the movement's communications strategy, which has grown into a sophisticated operation in recent years and yet is struggling to calm widespread panic.

The Al-Emarah interviews were a tiny step towards trying to win back control of the message.

For the moment, Al-Emarah websites in five different languages have been difficult to access or apparently offline from Friday, for reasons which remain unclear. The clips could be seen on social media accounts, however.

On Saturday, several Taliban spokesmen took to television studios to reassure residents that the streets were safe. On the same day, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban political leader in Afghanistan, arrived in Kabul to set up a police force.

Getting their message across has proved harder since the Taliban conquered Afghanistan than it was when they were fighting an insurgency against foreign and US-backed local armed forces.

Over the years, it has often been a step ahead of the government, getting its message out with a mix of multi-lingual social media accounts, videos, photos and responsive, well-prepared spokesmen equipped with ready answers to reporters' questions.

While Facebook and YouTube have banned the group it has an active presence on Twitter and dozens of social media accounts either directly linked to the movement or which stick close to its message have sprung up.

Many Afghans have treated those messages with disdain. The group has been blamed for thousands of civilian deaths in gun attacks and suicide bombings over the last 20 years, deaths it said were justified in its war against invaders.

And with growing turmoil in Kabul and some other cities, the movement can no longer fall back on accusations of abuse and wrongdoing by the Kabul government and its international allies.

The Taliban have tried to reassure both Afghans and the international community that they will respect people's rights and their forces will not exact revenge on members of the government and security forces.

The news conference held by the Taliban's main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday put a public face on the movement's communications operation for the first time.

But social media feeds of beatings or shaky video of people being dragged from cars and houses have challenged the Taliban's narrative, sowing fear among a population still in shock from the sudden collapse of the government.

Many of the accounts of abuse cannot be verified, but Taliban officials acknowledge the widespread fears.

A senior official told Reuters he had heard of some abuses against civilians, but promised that any problems caused by people in the movement would be investigated.

In a tweet on Saturday, Mujahid said the Taliban were setting up a three-member commission to handle problems encountered by the media.

With smartphones as common in Kabul as anywhere else in the world and a youthful population that has grown up with the internet, the Taliban's communications strategy will likely keep evolving.

But unless they can restore order to the streets and get people back to work, messaging alone is unlikely to be enough.

“I don't believe what they say at all, it's all lies. Nobody trusts what they say,” said one Kabul resident, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Overcrowded application center Ter Apel: why doesn't the ministry just book a hotel?

1. How many people come to Ter Apel?There are about 1200 per week and that number has been fairly constant since September. Anyone who arrives in our country and wants ... Read more »

Joe Manchin 'considers LEAVING Democratic party' and could 'pull the trigger' if he doesn't get his way with Biden's multi-trillion dollar agenda, report claims

The West Virginia Democrat has told associates he has a plan to leave his party if his liberal colleagues cannot find a way to cut down the social spending bill Manchin wants to see the $3.5T budget reconciliation plan cut to $1.75T  If Manchin follows through with the plan, he would switch from Democrat to Independent Read more »

WA search continues for missing Cleo

The search for missing four-year-old Cleo Smith is set to continue as police admit there's evidence to suggest she was taken from her West Australian campsite. Authorities have confirmed the ... Read more »

Pandemic 'far from over': Treasury boss

Treasury boss Steven Kennedy has warned the coronavirus pandemic is “far from over” and his department will continue to advise the federal government in implementing policies to support the economic ... Read more »

Melburnians prepare for COVID lockdown end

Hospitality workers in Melbourne are scrambling to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of lockdown lifting. Melburnians will emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday, five days earlier than planned, as ... Read more »

Obeids, Macdonald set to be sentenced

Eddie Obeid is facing the prospect of a second jail stint as he, his son and his erstwhile ministerial colleague are sentenced over a rigged tender for an exploration licence. ... Read more »

New witnesses at ICAC Berejiklian probe

The NSW corruption watchdog will continue to hear from past and present politicians and senior public servants as the probe into whether former premier Gladys Berejiklian breached public trust continues. ... Read more »

Second StarTrack delivery strike in month

Delivery workers from a major courier company are striking for the second time in a month, in a bid to force their employers back to negotiations over a pay and ... Read more »

Job hunters 'trapped in poverty': report

The federal government's forcing of job seekers to jump through hoops to access support payments despite job shortages has been slammed as a “failing” system. Almost 30 people are competing ... Read more »

Blok does not agree for gas extraction from new gas fields Tietjerksteradeel

Gas extraction in existing fields up to 2030 The existing production of gas from the gas fields at Tietjerksteradeel may continue until 2030. The condition is that the soil movement ... Read more »

BREAKING: Maryland military base that houses Walter Reed Medical Center is on lockdown after receiving bomb threat

Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Maryland is on lockdown as officials investigate a bomb threatThe military base is home to Walter Reed National Medical Center  Read more »

Trump didn't win on his own, of course': Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska slams 'stupid Americans' for raiding his 'abandoned' mansions, asks if they 'stole vodka' and ties it to Russian inference in the 2016 election in rambling statement

Deripaska is an oil tycoon with close ties to Russia's President Vladimir Putin His spokesperson said Deripaska doesn't own either of the homes searchedBut Deripaska said on Wednesday that both homes were 'abandoned' He mocked investigators, asking if they found anything but 'sour jam' and vodkaDeripaska also went on a tangent criticizing US foreign and domestic policy The Washington, DC residence is reportedly worth around $15 million and is called Haft Mansion, the other home is in Manhattan's wealthy West Village areaDeripaska was implicated in a 2020 Senate report as having aided Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election, working closely with Paul ManafortIn 2018 the Treasury Department accused Deripaska of ordering the murder of a fellow businessman, and blacklisted him as well as other Putin allies Read more »

Next year nine weeks of paid parental leave for both parents

The cabinet wants to give parents who have just had a baby more space to find a good balance between work and family. It has therefore been decided that, from ... Read more »

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz set to plead guilty to killing 17 in 2018 high school massacre in bid to avoid death penalty

Nikolas Cruz entered guilty pleas to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this morning Now 23, Cruz was a 19-year-old expelled student with a history of mental health and behavioral issues at the time of the 'cold, calculated and premeditated' killings At the hearing, Cruz said he was experiencing 'anxiety' but understood the nature of the proceedings Cruz's change of plea from not guilty would open the penalty phase in which a jury would decide whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or death  Read more »

Students compete for new title of ‘Medicine Student of the Year'

This year, the title ‘Medicine Student of the Year’ will be awarded for the first time by the KNMG physicians’ federation and The Medicine Student Association. The purpose of the ... Read more »

Australian cricket great Michael Slater accused of bombarding his ex with texts and showing up at her home - as he admits himself for mental health treatment after being charged over alleged domestic violence incident

Slater, 51, was arrested on Wednesday morning and taken for police interviewHe was later charged with stalking and using a phone to harass or menace Ex-partner Melanie Livesey has accused the cricketer of harassing herHe allegedly sent her series of texts before arriving at her Clovelly homeHe was granted bail to appear in Waverley Local Court on November 11  Read more »

Coach Delft team probably misses Solar Challenge due to travel restrictions

A spokesperson says that Lammers will probably miss the race. He is still in the Netherlands and would fly to his team on Saturday. However, from tonight there will be ... Read more »

New report ranks Australia last on climate

Australia is the worst climate performer in the developed world and will remain last even if it promises to get to net zero emissions by 2050, a new Climate Council ... Read more »

Max Verstappen: ‘Comparing with Mercedes remains a big question mark'

“Every week there are new challenges to overcome and this time will be no different. A lot of things can happen in a race, so we will have to focus ... Read more »

Victims of the allowance affair in Almere can go to Floriade 2022 for free

It had already been announced earlier that the minimum number of people in Almere would receive tickets for the Floriade. The only requirement is that they earn a maximum of ... Read more »

Master Sperkhemschool in Sneek temporarily receives forty refugee children

According to the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, there are no options for the children in Heeg to go to school. That is why they started looking for another location. Children of ... Read more »

Open University appoints Frank van der Duijn Schouten as interim chairman

The Supervisory Board of the Open University has appointed Frank van der Duijn Schouten as interim chairman of the Executive Board (CvB). He will take over from Karl Dittrich on ... Read more »

Missed exam because of corona? A resit is not always possible at the RUG

Students at the University of Groningen (RUG) who have corona and therefore do not have the opportunity to take an exam do not necessarily get a resit. This means that ... Read more »

If the exam is not taken due to corona, UG students do not always get a resit

Students at the University of Groningen (RUG) who have corona and therefore do not have the opportunity to take an exam do not necessarily get a resit. This means that ... Read more »

Project ‘Geestkracht' helps MBO students with mental problems

MBO schools can join the ‘Getting started as a Geestkracht school’ project. Through this project, students with mental complaints can receive professional guidance. Student organization JOBMBO is also involved in ... Read more »

WA miners consider sex offender register

Resources giant BHP has tentatively backed the creation of a register of sexual offenders in Western Australia's fly-in, fly-out mining sector. The company has apologised unreservedly to victims of sexual ... Read more »

Terrifying new clue in Cleo Smith's disappearance that points towards disturbing reality the four-year-old WAS snatched from her family tent as her mum slept

Cleo Smith was last seen at Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon on Saturday Disturbing new detail reveals tent zipper was too high for the little girl to reachIt points to the 'worst case scenario' Cleo was abducted while her family sleptPolice commissioner said up to 20 sex offenders live in the Carnarvon area Assistant Police Commissioner Darryl Gaunt say police won't rule anything out Campers have reported hearing sounds of screeching tyres in middle of night  Read more »

BREAKING NEWS: Manchester City fan, 63, is fighting for his life after he was attacked by 'cowardly' Club Brugge fans at a service station

A Manchester City fan is fighting for his life after a ‘cowardly’ attack by Club Brugge fans following Tuesday night’s Champions League encounter. A 63-year-old supporter, who is part of ... Read more »

OMT chairman Jaap van Dissel does not expect school closures this winter

OMT chairman Jaap van Dissel expects, despite increasing contamination figures, that lockdown measures such as shop or school closure or a curfew will not be necessary next winter. He points ... Read more »

Watching television during the autumn holidays? Children also learn something from these programs

1. Sesame Street (0 – 4 years NTR) Sesame Street is the Dutch variant of the American Sesame Street and has been around since 1976. Sesame Street, the most famous ... Read more »

More than 1,100 children of victims of allowance affair removed from home

In the period 2015-2020, approximately 1115 children of victims were placed out of their homes as a result of the childcare allowance affair. This is reported by the Central Bureau ... Read more »

Qld man denies murdering estranged wife

A 59-year-old man has denied murdering his estranged wife who was beaten and choked while taking out rubbish at her Gold Coast hinterland home. Andrew John Cobby is accused of ... Read more »

Ice-affected driver jailed for fatal crash

An ice-affected disqualified driver who caused the death of a woman in a head-on crash has been jailed for at least three years. Amanda Charlene Haley said she was supposed ... Read more »

Liz Cheney says Steve Bannon's refusal to cooperate with January 6 probe suggests he and Trump were 'personally involved in the planning and execution' of the riot as committee votes to hold the president's ex-aide in contempt for refusing to testify

Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the January 6 committee, said Steve Bannon and Donald Trump were likely involved in the planning of the Capitol Hill riot She also called on fellow GOP leaders to condemn the claims of voter fraud that caused the January 6 riots to happen This comes as the committee voted Tuesday evening to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to testify before the panel Vote came after the panel rejected an attempt by Bannon, a former Trump aide, to refrain from testifying as Trump vowed to invoke executive privilegeThe panel had released a report Monday claiming they believe Bannon knew about the impending attack on the Capitol ahead of time  Read more »

Offender fled fatal arson scene 'in shock'

A carpenter played a very limited role in a crime in which his friend kicked in a door before accidentally burning to death in a fire he lit inside a ... Read more »

Australian cricket great Michael Slater is CHARGED with domestic violence offences - just DAYS after he was axed from Seven's Ashes commentary team and following the $5.6 million sale of his family home

Slater, 51, was spoken to by police on Wednesday morning and was arrestedNo charges have been laid against the former Australian cricketerPolice were investigating reports of alleged DV incident from October 12 Read more »

Sex consent reform comes to NSW parliament

A historic overhaul of sexual consent laws in NSW is a step closer to reality as a bill introducing an affirmative model of consent is introduced to NSW parliament. Under ... Read more »

Wave buoys in SA gulf to tackle erosion

Three sophisticated buoys have been deployed off the South Australian coast to track waves and help fight ongoing erosion along Adelaide's metropolitan coast. Two buoys have been launched off Semaphore ... Read more »

Protesters charged with disrupting traffic

Eight Extinction Rebellion protesters have been charged over disrupting traffic in Adelaide's central business district after gluing themselves to the bitumen. The protest on Wednesday drew about 30 people calling ... Read more »

Climate change window closing rapidly: UN

Global fossil fuel production is projected to more than double levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5C within the decade unless countries like Australia hit the brakes on coal, oil ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic