Is Twitter The Newest Front In The War On Terror?
@Terrorists U suk. #OOORAH!
Could this be the future of U.S. diplomacy?
After a 20-hour gun battle in Kabul last week, NATO forces continued the fight on Twitter. An uncharacteristically emotional tweet from the International Security Assistance Force of Afghanistan (ISAF) prompted a debate with a Taliban account over who was responsible for civilian deaths.
The ISAF lashed out at the Taliban, asking how long they would “put innocent Afghans in harm’s way.”
@ABalkhi (which is an abbreviation of the Taliban name for Afghanistan, Abdulqahar Balkhi) responded, writing in fluent text-speak throughout. The writer accused the foreign troops of destroying entire markets and villages.
ISAF countered with UN statistics saying 80% of civilian casualties are caused by insurgents. ABalkhi dismissed the statistics as coming from a source friendly to NATO, apparently bringing the debate to a close.
Later, ISAF tweeted a video to a Taliban leadership account. The video showed the NATO commander for Afghanistan visiting with soldiers after the day’s battle; the tweet questioned whether the Taliban chiefs would do the same.
What do you think? Could social media help win hearts and minds?