Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The media-savvy Taliban

One of the points Sean Langan made last night in the question and answer session after his film was that the Taliban are becoming increasingly media-savvy. Previously, the Taliban actively avoided publicity and obstructed reporters who wanted to film. Now, both Sean Langan and David Loyn have been able to meet the Taliban.

The Taliban have taken this battle for hearts and minds to a new level with their announcement today that they will spend $1 million building new schools in the south of Afghanistan. Deeply cynical though this announcement is - the Taliban's campaign of terror has been behind the destruction and closure of schools across Afghanistan - it is designed to capitalise on the dissatisfaction the Afghans feel with their government, because of its failure to deliver over the last five years. It will be interesting to see whether the promise is followed up by action. But unless foreign governments can dramatically improve the lives of ordinary people across the country soon, they will quickly lose what little local sympathy they still have.

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