Last week, Taliban Acting Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Hanafi bragged about his group’s “historic” number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Pro-Taliban accounts on Twitter widely shared the speech, during which Hanafi also lamented the Taliban’s failure to achieve international recognition. One such clip of the speech, shared by a Taliban spokesperson, has received more than 4,000 views. By allowing the Taliban to remain online, social media platforms are giving the terrorist organization a platform to spread its jihadist propaganda.
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has previously called for clear guidelines from tech companies to target the very “worst of the worst” terrorist material. The Taliban––which is designated by the United Nations for its support of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda––represents the “worst of the worst” and must be removed from all tech platforms. CEP continues to call on responsible Internet companies to deny access to the Taliban.
Taliban propaganda has included print magazines, pamphlets, and other printed materials, as well as online and digital media––reportedly in an attempt to compete with ISIS’s extensive online presence. The Taliban maintain a channel on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, a Twitter account, and a website. The group also developed its own Android app in 2016, although it was removed from the Google Play store shortly after its launch.
Hanafi himself is a known senior member of the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Haqqani network is a militant Islamist group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though it is a branch of the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network operates independently from the Taliban and has a more diffuse command structure. The network has publicly supported suicide bombers, as well as initiatives to compensate bombers' families with money and land.
To read CEP’s Taliban resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Haqqani Network resource, please click here.