The sitting US President might have been banned from Twitter, but the Taliban’s official account is alive and flourishing.
An account called @Zabehulah_M33 is up and thriving on Twitter on a day that Twitter permanently banned US President Donald Trump’s account for allegedly promoting violence. The account describes itself as “Official Twitter Account of the Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid.” The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, for the uninitiated, was the was a totalitarian Islamic state established in September 1996, when the Taliban began their governance of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul. The account has 146,000 followers, and even links to the official website of the Islamic state of Aghanistan.
The tweets from the account are exactly what you’d expect from the Taliban. In a tweet, the account takes responsibility for an attack on the checkpost of the “enemy”, in which two policemen lost their lives. Attached to the tweet is a picture of five guns which were presumably used to carry out the attack.
In yet another video shared by the account, several gun-toting men declare they are “mujahid”, to the accompaniment of dramatic music playing in the background. “I am a Mujahid. I am waging Jihad in order to please Allah SWF because Jihad is an obligation from Allah SWT,” says a man while holding what looks like an automatic rifle in his hand. The same man is then shown shooting the rifle into the distance.
Yet Twitter seemingly deems this appropriate for its platform, but has gone ahead and banned Donald Trump. This isn’t the only instance of Twitter’s supposed policies behind banning Trump seeming arbitrary and motivated — in the past, former Malaysian PM Matahir Mohammad had said that it would be justified for Muslims to kill millions of French people, but he still retains an active account on the platform.
Closer home, Swara Bhasker had openly endorsed physical confrontation and violence in the lead up to the Delhi riots. “Delhi! Get on the streets!,” she’d dramatically tweeted in January last year. 53 people had lost their lives in the riots, but Swara Bhasker continues to be able to use her Twitter account.
Other prominent leftists have similarly endorsed violence, but still have access to their Twitter accounts. Prashant Kanojia had tweeted “Kill saints and save humanity,” when the Palghar Sadhus had been killed, but hasn’t been penalized by Twitter.
All this indicates that Twitter’s banning of Trump might have a lot less to do with actual violence and policies, but with Twitter’s own political bias that looks to suppress speech from the other side. And the fact that a tech platform can silence the sitting President of the USA based on a whim in a terrifying thought — almost nearly as terrifying as the Taliban continuing to have a account on the very same platform.