The Taliban PR team might want to re-think some of their media output...
A reporter I know, Declan Walsh of the of the UK Guardian, wrote a story published Wednesday about a Taliban video that shows a 12-year-old sawing off some dude’s head.
Apparently UNICEF is condemning the act – so no Halloween quarters for Taliban kids this year!
Declan writes, “The baby-faced executioner kneels over the man and starts to slide the knife across his throat. Blood spurts and the cries of "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great" ring out. Then the boy triumphantly holds the severed head aloft.”The unfortunate head donor for this gory propaganda was a guy named Ghulam Nabi, a Paki who may have ratted out a Taliban commander killed in an air strike last year. The young killer says, “He’s an American spy, this is his fate.”
LINK TO GUARDIAN STORY:
The dude’s father said he was a committed Taliban fighter who has fought in Afghanistan – so I’m not so sure there is much sympathy for him. It’s the fact that such a young guy was featured killing in a video.
But this goes back to a previous discussion – the enemy has a voice, sometimes their media campaign is effective, even if this one is not. One public affairs officer I know used to always say – “The enemy has a vote.”
They have a say in what gets published in print and broadcast on TV and the Internet. Communication from the battlefield is steering much of this war – it should be at the forefront of the war-fighter’s mind.
Just last week, the Taliban made a great effort to NOT claim a bombing in Khost, because it killed many civilians - who they need for support. So many times, the local reporters in Kabul were getting satellite phone calls from the Taliban spokesman - while the U.S. military was sitting on information rather than releasing our facts.
If we don’t get our messages out – clearly, accurate and timely – the enemy can counter our efforts with their own strategic communication. They may want to return world civilizations to a primitive way – but they sure embrace modern mass communication well enough.
War fighting is a strange animal, getting stranger the deeper we get.