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NATO and Taliban Go Toe-to-Toe in Twitter Messaging Battle


"Everything you type is wrong."

The war in Afghanistan has been dragging on for over ten years, but one battle of perceptions is occurring in an unexpected forum: Twitter.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), comprised of the NATO Coalition and Afghan allies, has an official Twitter account in its press office, which it uses to get information out to the Afghan people and general news for the Coalition.

The Taliban, however, allegedly has an English-capabale spokesperson who not only spreads falsehoods about the ISAF mission, but directly engages in a war-of-words with the NATO twitter representative.

This has led to direct messaging exchanges about civilian casualties, mercenaries-- and even some schoolyard taunts.

Below, Abdulaqar Balkhi, allegedly a representative of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, talks about ISAF as invaders:


But ISAF is able to quickly counter that the Taliban, in fact, is responsible for atrocities, not the NATO Coalition:

Balkhi writes that back that officials have admitted to the atrocities, and calls the ISAF writer a "dumb dumb":

ISAF responds that Balkhi is a joke:

You get the idea.

An interesting twist to the information operations face-off is that its mostly done for the benefit of a small, elite Afghan audience, assorted Westerners in country, and the global English-speaking audience on Twitter.

Less than 20% of Afghans can read in any language (let alone English), and about 15% have regular access to electricity.

So far in the battle for Twitter supremacy in the Afghan theater, ISAF has 15889 followers, and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is stuck under 3,000.

Here is a video overview of the NATO-Taliban Twitter battle, courtesy of CNN:

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