Though long hostile to social media, the Taliban regime readily embraced the haven on the Internet, setting up social media channels for propaganda purposes. These channels are fervently used to bolster an ‘acceptable’ image (of the Taliban) with a modern pretext. In reality, the Taliban regime is far from its glossy altruistic image broadcasted through social media. Official channels on instant messaging apps such as Telegram demonstrate how the Taliban aspire to advance their version of an autocratic theocracy while promoting an altruistic image. This opens the door to understanding not only the political outlook of the Taliban but with whom they would naturally connect, intrinsically forming alliances.
This Insight looks at two official Taliban Telegram channels. The analysis of these channels is backed up with semantic analysis on the official website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, official Taliban Twitter accounts, and the news, analysis, and reports on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. This Insight focuses on how the Taliban regime fosters an acceptable social media pretext to cover up an otherwise ruthless fundamentalist organisation and the trajectory of their natural alliances in a rapidly changing world.