The first week of June 2021 saw a flood of social media posts depicting evidence of massive Taliban victories across Afghanistan against the backdrop of an impending US withdrawal. The organized online campaign included videos, messages and recordings ranging from celebratory chants, slogans and songs emphasizing the Taliban’s victory over US and Afghan National Army Forces.
G5iO undertook a detailed study to analyze this online campaign from known and self-professed ‘official’ Taliban and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) sources. Through our analyses we have attempted to identify key objectives, target audiences and the overall boost in the Taliban’s info war campaign on digital spaces in line with their ground offensives.
There has been a marked and focused uptick in engagement and propagation of official Taliban content over the last two months. This includes content from official spokesperson accounts such as @Zabehulah_M33 and @QyAhmadi21 spokesman
Content includes tweets related to their victories under the hashtag الفتح# where they share videos and images related to:
Captured Vehicles from ANA and those left behind by US forces including, Humvees, APCs and Technical.
Massive amounts of assault rifles, Light Machine Guns, crates/ boxes load of ammunition including heavy rockets, artillery shells and other explosives from captured warehouses and ammunition dumps.
Footage of entire companies of ANA soldiers (in uniform) laying their arms down in front of Taliban fighters and being granted amnesty.
Sophisticated drone videos of captured bases and arms/vehicles depots from ANA outposts across Herat, Ghazni and Nangarhar provinces and other areas in East and South-East Afghanistan.
The current increase in Afghan Taliban social media activity is in line with their apparent aims to project themselves as victorious liberators in the backdrop of US withdrawal from Afghanistan and to assert themselves as the legitimate rulers. The immense interest generated by these materials in the form of retweets and shares shows that Taliban have successfully managed to project their narrative in a dominant manner throughout both a localized and wider international audience.