Information Warfare: Terrorist Porn

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February 26, 2006: In Afghanistan, a recent Taliban radio broadcast asserted that some 6,500 American and Coalition troops had been killed by Taliban fighters so far, and that not a single civilian had suffered in the process. Now, to any Afghans in the areas where fighting is taking place, this is absurd. But to some pro-Taliban Afghans, outside of the combat zone, this will be believed, as will the idea that the Taliban will eventually run the country again. This is part of a pretty broad Taliban propaganda campaign.

While the Taliban have no access to television broadcasting, they do distribute DVDs with propaganda videos on them. These portray Afghans, Pakistanis and Arabs and Central Asians undergoing military training in Pakistani camps. They also display executions of informers, and Pakistanis and Afghans who disagree with the Taliban. Interestingly, some of the commentary on the DVDs is in Arabic, indicating that the DVDs are distributed back in the Persian Gulf area as well, where much money, and many volunteers, for the Taliban come from. The Taliban want to show their wealthy Arab backers that the money is being put to good use. In practice, a lot of the money disappears. The Taliban have taken energetic measures to root out this corruption, and keep it quiet. Information War often requires profound silence as well.

But the DVDs are very popular, a sort of "terrorist pornography," which are often duplicated and sold by DVD retailers. The people buying these DVDs are more into it for the scary content, than for any political messages.

 


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