Conflicts & War

Taliban come out of the shadows on Twitter after Afghan takeover

By Indira Guerrero

New Delhi, Aug 26 (EFE).- The faces of Taliban fighters have started popping up everywhere after their recent takeover of Afghanistan, with the members revealing their identities for the first time in two decades, during which their faces were vaguely known only by international intelligence agencies.

A number of Twitter profiles have been updated in recent days with new profile photos and the bio describing the user as “Taliban,” as the insurgents have started emerging from their behind the scenes existence.

So far, the photos of the Taliban leadership in circulation had been few, blurry, inaccurate and distant, often collected and circulated in the “wanted” alerts by local and international intelligence.

However, the Taliban victory and the withdrawal of foreign troops has ended the Taliban’s underground persona, away from the limelight.

The group’s principal spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, active on Twitter from April 2017 without a photo, came out in the open last week during the insurgents’ first press conference after they took over Kabul on Aug. 15.

Another Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmadi also appeared in front of the press and uploaded a photo on Twitter sitting next to the group’s white flag inscribed with the Shahada (Islamic scripture).

Mujahid is a prime example of how anonymity helped the Taliban during the war and how he has now emerged to give identity to the movement, terrorism researcher Kabir Taneja – author of the book “The ISIS Peril” – told EFE.

Taneja referred to studies over the role and existence of Mujahid, which had suggested that his Twitter account was managed by four persons from different locations, although now he has proved to be “a real person.”

Subsequently, Taliban members like Ahmadullah Muttaqi, Ahmadullah Wasiq, Tariq Ghazniwal, Qari Yahya Takal have updated their profiles with photos one after the other, some of them working from plush offices.

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