[iw] - Taliban websites down, WhatsApp sites also cut off: reports WaPo

Richard Forno rforno at infowarrior.org
Fri Aug 20 16:35:44 EDT 2021


Taliban websites operating in five languages go dark
The sites delivered the group’s propaganda in two Afghan languages and three others used widely by the international community.

Craig Timberg3:57 p.m. EDT

Afghans access social media websites at a private Internet cafe in Kabul. (Rahmat Gul/AP)
It was not immediately clear who or what took the Taliban sites offline, though all five previously had online protection from CloudFlare, a San Francisco-based company that helps websites deliver content and defend against cyberattacks. The company did not immediately reply to a request for comment on whether it was still protecting the Taliban sites, which had versions in Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Urdu and English. All were offline Friday afternoon.

SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremism, said numerous WhatsApp groups used by the Taliban also had been shut down by Friday. WhatsApp, an encrypted chat service used widely in much of the world, is owned by Facebook, which has banned official Taliban accounts from its services.

“The proliferation of the Taliban’s online infrastructure, regardless of whether it officially meets some companies’ criteria for content moderation, is significantly contributing to the empowerment of global violent extremists,” said Rita Katz, executive director of SITE. “In short: cutting off Taliban’s online media is definitely a good thing.”

Notably Twitter has not followed a similar policy. It has allowed several official Taliban accounts, including some used by spokesmen, to continue operating.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates  

Typed or dictated into my mobile — but you probably figured that out already. 

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