On The Road

Occasional ramblings from a rambling journalist

Afghan people

You’ve got to hand it to the Taliban, they certainly know how to work the media to further their heinous objectives. A report from the International Crisis group tells how the organisation is using a full range of media, from web-sites to mobile ‘phones, to tap into strains of Afghan nationalism and exploit policy failures by the Kabul government and its international backers. Using a website in the name of the former regime – the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – they dispense leadership statements and inflated tales of battlefield exploits.

But for the largely rural and illiterate population, great efforts are being put into preaching and giving battle reports via DVDs, audio cassettes, shabnamah (night letters – pamphlets or leaflets usually containing threats) and traditional nationalist songs and poems. The Taliban also increasingly uses mobile phones to spread its message. And their strategy seems to be working. Even though few actively support the Taliban, the result is weakening public support for nation-building.

Little wonder one of the key recommendations is DON’T block the flow of information, but rather disclose more, in an open and timely manner, and in that way build morale. I sure hope they catch on, there’s a lot at stake.

Click here to read the full PDF report.

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