Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, major tech companies are allegedly facing a dilemma about how to moderate the terror group’s online presence. At issue is whether to recognize a transfer of power to the group in the war-torn country. Compounding matters is the Taliban’s apparent savvy social media usage and ability to stay within companies’ content rules despite its extremist ideology.
“The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has long called for clear guidelines targeting the very ‘worst of the worst’ terrorist material, including content by and in support of internationally designated terrorist organizations and individuals. The Taliban—which is designated by the United Nations for its support of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and represents the ‘worst of the worst’—clearly falls within these parameters,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “We are not debating definitions of ‘misinformation’ here. Giving the Taliban a platform and allowing it to remain online in any capacity poses significant risks to public safety and security. This should not be a difficult decision.”
In February 2020, U.S. and Taliban negotiators reached a preliminary deal that demanded a reduction in violence from the insurgent camp in exchange for a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban also agreed to renounce al-Qaeda and prevent al-Qaeda and other groups from using Afghanistan as a base for terrorism against the United States. However, a May 2021 report to the U.N. Security Council by an Afghanistan monitoring team concluded the “Taliban’s messaging remains uncompromising, and it shows no sign of reducing the level of violence in Afghanistan to facilitate peace negotiations….” The monitoring team also reported continuing ties between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
To read CEP’s Taliban resource, please click here.