But in the latest sign of the hardline movement’s rapprochement with at least some areas of the modern world, the Taliban have embraced microblogging.
Their Twitter feed, @alemarahweb, pumps out several messages each day, keeping 224 followers up to date with often highly exaggerated reports of strikes against the “infidel forces” and the “Karzai puppet regime”.
Most messages by the increasingly media-savvy movement are in Pashtu, with links to news stories on the elaborate and multilingual website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban’s shadow government likes to style itself.
On Thursday, the feed broke into English for the first time, with a tweet about an attack on police in Farah province. “Enemy attacked in Khak-e-Safid, 6 dead,” read the message.
There is not much lively banter between the “emirate” and its Twitter followers, save for a cheerful “asalam alekum” sent last week to the Kavkaz Centre, a militant news site covering jihad in the Caucasus.
Don’t be surprised if military and intelligence officials are now trying to figure out how to get them to use foursquare…