As The Associated Press reported, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have launched a Facebook page, a Twitter page, and a YouTube page in an effort to combat the Taliban's growing use of internet propaganda by communicating their missions in Afghanistan to the world via cyberspace.
Since President Obama entered the White House, dealing with the safety problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan has become critical. International political analysts believe America’s old anti-terrorism methods did not work well, as the Taliban has become active again. The Washington Post reports that the internet has made Taliban militants increasingly powerful.
According to research, there are more than 4,000 terrorist websites, and still more under construction. The Taliban are inclined to control and command “invisible terrorists” all over the world via the internet, and to launch new attacks at any time. They search for targets and information, enlist recruits, and raise money over the internet. Furthermore, they use the internet as a “virtual rehearsal base” to train new terrorists. They also discuss how to produce or detonate bombs, how to carry out suicide attacks, and so on, over the internet. More and more frequently, the Taliban release their own statistics on American military casualties and citizen death tolls on the internet following air and other attacks. They also announce true or false terrorist information, playing mind games.
Although America has highly developed skills in the use of the internet, it has been placed in a disadvantageous position in this “information battle.” High-ranking American officials previously announced that American forces lost the “information battle” to the Taliban, and America’s old, reserved propaganda obviously has “paled in comparison.” The U.S. magazine Foreign Affairs reports that the Taliban is on the A-list tech-wise, trying many new internet tools to control multi-language broadcasts and rapidly propagandize their opinions on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A battle between the Taliban and America has begun, without the smoke of gunpowder. In the face of the Taliban’s massive information attack and the prompt, wide coverage of the internet, American troops in Afghanistan have realized the special importance of seizing the higher ground in this internet battle. Former U.S. defense secretary Rumsfeld said that America must generate strategies for this internet battle. America can achieve ultimate victory in the war against terrorism only if it can win the battle of propaganda. It has been said that America has been forced to commence building its internet capabilities to gain command of this virtual territory.
Some military experts predict that, in the future, virtual information flow, rather than flying bullets, will become a key weapon in the battle to control the war. It’s obvious that it will become increasingly important in the future to control more information and gain more social influence on the internet so as to maintain power.