In August, Taliban militants entered Kabul as they claimed victory in the 20 year-long war.
After the Taliban announced their new government to rule Afghanistan, changes are being noticed in their new form of governance. One of the most prominent changes being, the use of social media.
The Taliban launched a comprehensive social media campaign immediately after they stepped up their military offensive against Afghan national security forces.
There was a network of social media accounts that highlighted the alleged failures of the Kabul government and focussed on Taliban’s achievements.
There were tweets that used hashtags like #kabulregimecrimesm which was attached to tweets accusing the Afghan government of war crimes, #westandwithTaliban, which was used as an attempt to drive grassroots support, and #ﻧَﺼْﺮٌ_ﻣٌِﻦَ_اللهِ_ﻭَﻓَﺘْﺢٌ_ﻗَﺮِﻳﺐٌ, which referred to help from God and victory is near.
In a video, which surfaced on the internet, a Taliban official can be seen reassuring female health workers that they could keep their jobs. In another such video, militants told Sikhs, a minority religious group, that they were free and protected.
Taliban, this time, used social media as a tool to tame the opposition and convey their messages to the citizens.
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As a response to this, Afghanistan’s then-Vice President Amrullah Saleh warned his forces and the public not to fall for such ‘false claims’ of Taliban victories on social media. He also called on people to avoid sharing details of military operations that could compromise the country’s security.
However, this is not the only change.
Taliban has allowed women to attend schools and universities but with some new regulations.
All the women attending private colleges and schools will have to cover most of their faces. Also, girls are also not allowed to sit in same classes as boys and if they do, they have to sit behind a curtain, segregated from men.
Only female teachers can teach women and girls have to compulsorily leave the premises five minutes prior so that they do not interact with any men.
Earlier, when the Taliban first came to power in Afghanistan in 1996, they banned the internet and confiscated television sets, cameras, and videotapes.
In 2005, the official website of the Islamic Emirates of Taliban, ‘Al-Emarah’, was launched and now publishes content in five languages – English, Arabic, Pashto, Dari, and Urdu.
The audio, video and written content are overseen by the cultural commission of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA), which is headed by their spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
Even after all the fighting and development, there are just 8.6 million internet users in Afghanistan, and the absence of network coverage and affordable data remains a massive challenge.
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