[Marxism] NATO-Taliban twitter wars

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 15 07:03:38 MDT 2011

NY Times September 14, 2011
As Fighting in Kabul Wanes, Sniping on Twitter Begins

As the firefight in Kabul, Afghanistan, simmered down early on 
Wednesday, the battle on Twitter began heating up, with 
representatives of the NATO-led coalition and the Taliban trading 
barbs in a burst of virtual conversation.

Written in the slashing jargon of the short messaging service, the 
Twitter exchange underscored a continuing effort by the United 
States and NATO to portray as unsuccessful the brazen attack on 
the American Embassy and the headquarters of the NATO-led 
International Security Assistance Force.

“Re: Taliban spox on #Kabul attack: the outcome is inevitable,” 
read a message on a Twitter account managed by the NATO forces, 
and using an abbreviation for spokesman. “Question is how much 
longer will terrorist put innocent Afghans in harm’s way?”

To this, a Taliban representative, who identified himself as 
Abdulqahar Balkhi and wrote under the handle @abalkhi, replied in 
garbled shorthand: “i dnt knw.u hve bn pttng thm n ‘harm’s way’ fr 
da pst 10 yrs.Razd whole vllgs n mrkts.n stil hv da nrve to tlk 
bout ‘harm’s way’.”

(The message, in plain English, would be: I don’t know. You have 
been putting them in ‘harm’s way’ for the past 10 years. Razed 
whole villages and markets. And still have the nerve to talk about 
‘harm’s way?’)

“Really, @abalkhi?” NATO responded, citing a United Nations 
finding that insurgents were responsible for 80 percent of the 
civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2011.

“UNAMA is an entity of whom? mine or yours?” came the Taliban 
response, using the acronym for the United Nations mission in 

A NATO spokesman in Kabul said the exchange was part of a 
stepped-up campaign to fight what it perceives as misinformation 
on social networks. “This past week, we started engaging a little 
bit more,” said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Jimmie E. Cummings Jr.

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