Zabiullah Mujahid

Zabiullah Mujahid is the spokesman of the Taliban, reporting on Taliban activity in central, eastern, and northern Afghanistan.TALIBAN PROPAGANDA: WINNING THE WAR OF WORDS?, International Crisis Group, Asia Report No 158, July 24, 2008, http://www.genocidewatch.org/images/Afghanistan_08_07_24_Taliban_Propaganda_Winning_the_War_of_Words.pdf. He regularly speaks to national and foreign journalists via SMS and telephone and frequently posts on Twitter, where he has over 30,000 followers. Mujahid tweets in both English and Pashto and is often quoted by major news organization.“Taliban announce surprise talks with US in Pakistani capital,” Al Jazeera, February 13, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/taliban-announce-surprise-talks-pakistan-capital-190213174437142.html; Kathy Gannon, “Taliban name negotiating team ahead of new talks with US,” January 24, 2019, https://www.apnews.com/39bc926d2ae148d4b33023a59f3babfe. In a series of interviews with the New York Times, Mujahid claimed to hold a master’s degree in religious studies and have served in a low-level position in the Taliban’s Culture and Information Department before the U.S.-led intervention.Rod Nordland, “One Voice or Many for the Taliban, but Pegged to a Single Name,” New York Times, June 14, 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/world/asia/15zabiullah.html.

Mujahid reportedly succeeded Muhammad Hanif in January 2007 after Hanif was arrested by NATO forces in Afghanistan.“Taliban spokesman arrested,” Al Jazeera, January 19, 2007, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2007/01/200852512617616290.html. While Afghan intelligence officials claim that Mujahid is a Pakistani man named Hajji Ismail, U.S. intelligence officials claim he is actually a persona run by a team of Taliban members.Rod Nordland, “One Voice or Many for the Taliban, but Pegged to a Single Name,” New York Times, June 14, 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/world/asia/15zabiullah.html. The U.S. claim is supported by the fact that journalists report that Mujahid responds to their inquiries at all of times of the day.TALIBAN PROPAGANDA: WINNING THE WAR OF WORDS?, International Crisis Group, Asia Report No 158, July 24, 2008, http://www.genocidewatch.org/images/Afghanistan_08_07_24_Taliban_Propaganda_Winning_the_War_of_Words.pdf.

 
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