Last Friday, when the Taliban took over the key city of Herat, they released photos and videos of militia leaders posing with Ismail Khan, a prominent local commander and rival of the Taliban, to found him unrestrained and relaxed.
Mr Sayed said the message was clear: “If we can treat Ismail Khan, a top enemy, with such respect, there will be no danger to anyone.”
In Kabul, many Taliban-trained journalists were busy on the streets, often holding microphones with the logo of the group’s propaganda site. In a video posted to the Twitter account of Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, a reporter interviewed residents in the Shahr-e Naw area of Kabul. When asked by a young boy about taking over the capital, the boy replied: “We are very happy and have been living in peace.”
While some responded positively to the message, the digital transfer of power caused a shock across Afghanistan’s best-connected cities. Many voices who had opposed the Taliban’s posts have been silent for fear of reprisals. Digital rights groups say many people with ties to the former government or the United States have closed their social media profiles, left chat groups, and deleted old messages.
Earlier this week, when Mr. Mujahid announced a press conference in a group of journalists who use WhatsApp extensively, some members dropped out of the chat. One person who used to work for foreign media and asked to remain anonymous, fearing retribution, said that journalists who wrote critiques of the Taliban worried about the backlash.
Even so, the social network still bears some signs of resistance. On Tuesday, a video about a small group of women Protests in Kabul with the presence of Taliban fighters was widely shared. The next day, video of an incident in Jalalabad, in which the Taliban opened fire on a group of youths, who removed the militants’ flag and replaced it with the flag of the fallen Afghan government, went viral. spread.