What We Are Reading Today: Taliban Narratives — The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict

Updated 21 April 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Taliban Narratives — The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict

Two months after the 9/11 attacks and little more than a month after the Oct. 7, 2001 American-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were forced from Kabul and appeared to have been crushed.

But the fundamentalist movement proved surprisingly resilient and is now openly active in 70 percent of the country, according to the results of a January BBC survey.

Meanwhile, the occupation of Afghanistan has become the longest war in US history.

“Taliban Narratives: The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict” by Thomas H. Johnson explains how and why the Taliban’s clever use of propaganda has enabled the insurgency to flourish.

As well as running their own websites and magazines, the militants have used everything from simple graffiti to poetry and self-produced DVDs to publicize their cause. In doing so, they have proved highly adept at rallying large numbers of Afghans to their side and outwitting the far more sophisticated propaganda campaigns of the US and NATO.


Despite setbacks, Arab summit at media forefront

Updated 20 January 2019
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Despite setbacks, Arab summit at media forefront

  • Japanese journalist says they have to cover the summit because the Mideast region is too important for Japan
  • TV, print and radio journalists were given the necessary equipment and space to allow constant reporting of the summit’s opening remarks

BEIRUT: Journalists from across the world gathered in Lebanon’s Beirut Waterfront to cover the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit on Sunday despite the tumultuous days leading up to the event.

It was not just Arab and Middle Eastern journalists who were present at the summit’s official media center; reporters from Japan, Europe and the US were also in attendance. 

There were conflicting reports on the number of journalists attending, ranging from 600 to double that. The summit’s official spokesman Dany Najim said 1,200 journalists covered the event. 

In addition to journalists working with news organizations and institutions were those traveling as part of country delegations. 

The Arab League sent 11 journalists, while official numbers put an average of 10 journalists per delegation. 

“We must cover the summit. The region is very important to us. It’s where we buy oil and gas,” said a Japanese journalist.

TV, print and radio journalists were given the necessary equipment and space to allow constant reporting of the summit’s opening remarks. While they were placed in a hall adjacent to the main summit meeting room, two large screens were continuously airing the summit’s activities and talks.

Rigid security protocols were in place for the safety of attending delegations. Roads starting from Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel in Minet Al-Hosn district all the way to Al-Nahar newspaper’s offices in Martyrs’ Square were closed as part of a security zone. 

Transportation of journalists was organized by the summit, where a bus was available round the clock to pick them up and take them to the Monroe Hotel — the media hub for the summit — in Minet Al-Hosn, before taking another bus to the Beirut Waterfront.

Several stores and restaurants were forced to shut for the days of the summit, while some issued mass text messages to the public to announce that they will stay open.

This is the fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit. The previous ones were hosted by Kuwait in 2009, Egypt in 2011, and Saudi Arabia in 2013.