Monday, October 04, 2010

Taliban propaganda employs leaflets, sermons and clandestine radio

Ernesto Londono: "The Taliban continues to rely heavily on decentralized, conventional propaganda efforts, which U.S. military officials say is the crucial battleground. These include the distribution of leaflets with threats or pleas, sermons in mosques and clandestine radio stations. 'They've co-opted the religious narrative for the last several years,' Rear Adm. Greg Smith, NATO's communications chief in Afghanistan, said in an interview. 'They've used that narrative locally very effectively.' Foreign troops, meanwhile, are ill-equipped to offer counterarguments in mosques and other gatherings, forcing them to rely on Afghan officials to do so, Smith said. So far, that effort has been slow in the Taliban's southern strongholds of Kandahar and Helmand provinces, even as Taliban influence has spread in the east and the north, Afghans say." -- Nevertheless, the propaganda war, as with the military war, must ultimately be fought by Afghans who are opposed to the resumption of Taliban rule. The best the United States can do is to fight propaganda with non-propaganda, i.e. the credible information that causes propaganda to wither.
Washington Post, 02 Oct 2010/Kim Elliott blogspot)
photo: UN/