Social media giant Twitter was taken to task on Sunday by users who noticed that a spokesman for the Taliban remains free to use the platform unfettered to spout whatever messages he wants, sans fact-checks or warnings, while former President Donald Trump remains banned.
The observations were made as Taliban fighters have now completely overrun Afghanistan and have taken control of the presidential palace amid deadly, chaotic scenes at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, including three Afghans who attempted to stowaway on a U.S. military jet falling to their deaths.
The account of Zabihullah Mujahid is not blue-check verified, but he has some 280,000 followers and is often quoted by major news agencies. Recently, he posted an update about the group’s “military units” as they entered the capital of Kabul while U.S. troops were assisting the evacuation of American embassy diplomats and staff.
Among other updates, Mujahid wrote that Taliban fighters’ “advance is continuing normally.”
Jerome Riviere, a French politician, questioned Twitter’s standards in a post on the platform itself, writing, “Freedom and democracy are not doing well when #Twitter continues to ban #Trump’s account but relays the #Taliban spokesperson’s without any second thoughts.”
— Jerome Riviere (@jerome_riviere) August 15, 2021
Fox News reported that Twitter officials did not respond to an after-hours email from the network seeking comment.
Two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, Twitter announced that Trump’s account, which had some 80 million followers, was being permanently suspended. Twitter officials announced that by keeping the account online, it would lead to “further incitement of violence.”
Trump has since resorted to sending out statements from his Save America PAC, which often get picked up by news sources. He has toyed with the notion of starting his own social media platform but has yet to do so. One of his former campaign advisers, Jason Miller, has done so; he launched GETTR, which has been growing steadily since.
In banning Trump, Twitter pointed to a post from the former president on Jan. 8 that said, “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!”
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 when U.S.-led forces toppled the regime and helped install a democratically elected government. U.S. and NATO forces remained in the country for the next two decades, until President Joe Biden ordered American forces withdrawn beginning in May.
He is now being heavily criticized for the collapse of the country back into the hands of the militant group, as his administration along with Defense Department and Pentagon officials scramble to explain how and why an Afghan military outfitted with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S. equipment and training simply evaporated in the face of Taliban fighters, though the Afghan National Army outnumbered the Taliban by about three-to-1 prior to the militant group’s resurgence.
As for Biden, Fox News reports that he appears to be holed up at the presidential retreat, Camp David, and has largely been silent.
The network quoted one lawmaker who sat in on a foreign affairs committee phone call who said: “We’ve heard more from the Taliban than we’ve heard from Biden.”
Trump, late Sunday, called on Biden to step down over the loss of Afghanistan, the chaotic southwest border, and the worsening U.S. economy.
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