Afghanistan's Taleban militant group develops smartphone app to advance propaganda efforts

Former Afghan Taleban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process in Jalalabad, on Jan 12, 2016.
Former Afghan Taleban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process in Jalalabad, on Jan 12, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL (Bloomberg) - Afghanistan's Taleban guerrillas have developed an online application for Android smartphones, signaling the militant group is becoming more adept at using Internet and wireless technologies to increase visibility.

The launch of the app was reported by the United States-based SITE Intel Group, which monitors militant social media, on Friday (April 1).

The Pashto language app includes content such as official statements and videos from the Taleban, which has sought insurgency in the country for more than 14 years since it was ousted in 2001 with help from the US.

The app can be downloaded from Google's Play Store.

The app adds to the Taleban's digital campaign to attract more audience worldwide. The movement has an updated Website run in five languages, including English and Arabic, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts providing daily reports on its insurgency.

The group's website and Twitter accounts have been taken down several times as the Afghan government seeks to prevent the group's communications efforts.

"The app will help Taleban to further psychologically weaken Afghanistan by their propaganda reports," said Mr Jawid Kohistani, an independent Kabul-based security analyst.

Taleban spokesmen did not return calls to their mobile phones.

Mr Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said by phone he was not aware of the Taleban app.