WhatsApp shuts down the Taliban helpline in Kabul

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WhatsApp Inc update

WhatsApp shut down the complaint hotline set up by the Taliban when they controlled Kabul, after the messaging app was under pressure to prevent the organization from using its services.

This Complaint number Should serve as an emergency hotline for civilians to report violence, robbery or other issues. The Taliban advertised this helpline when they occupied the city on Sunday and have used similar WhatsApp hotlines in the past, such as when they took over Kunduz in 2016.

After occupying Kabul, the Taliban promised to establish a stable government that would not harm the citizens’ “life, property, and honor.”

Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, stated that it had blocked the number and other “official Taliban channels” on Tuesday, adding that it was actively scanning group names, descriptions and profile pictures on the messaging app in an attempt to block The Taliban use it. It added that its native Dari and Pashto teams are “helping to identify and remind us of problems on the platform.”

Critics in the United States attacked WhatsApp and other social media platforms because they did not take more action to shut down Taliban communications.

But experts in the region said that closing WhatsApp numbers is “ridiculous” and “unhelpful” at a time when the military organization actually rules the country and Kabul citizens are facing robbery, panic, and chaos.

“Blocking communication between people and the Taliban does not help Afghans, it is just grandstanding,” Ashley, a former Afghan Red Cross and Oxfam aid worker and author of a book about the Taliban and its relations with Afghan civilians Jackson said.

“If the Taliban suddenly cannot use WhatsApp, you are just isolating the Afghans and making it more difficult for them to communicate when they are already in a panic. [WhatsApp’s actions] Really misled. “

Activists and academics said that the leadership of the organization pays attention to citizens’ complaints to maintain order and align the general population of the Taliban.

“People have long known that the Taliban have these helplines, and they advertise across the country in response to news articles or NGO complaints about robberies, because if they are doing one thing, it is trying to maintain law and order,” Jackson Say.

“I know it sounds unlikely to be really helpful, but in this very strange, fast-moving situation, civilians need all the resources they can get, and this is one of them.”

Masuda Sultan is an Afghan-American entrepreneur and the founder of a non-profit organization called Women for Afghan Women​​. She praised the helpline on Twitter, saying that her office is covered by 30 self-proclaimed Taliban The criminals were ransacked. “The Complaints Committee is asking to talk to them and may come to our office soon,” she wrote.

The WhatsApp helpline advertised in Kunduz in 2016 was used by various NGOs and even the United Nations to file complaints and retrieve looted property, such as medical supplies.

Moustafa Ayad, who monitors the activities of extremist groups in the Middle East online at the Institute for Strategic Dialogues, agrees that social media bans on official channels will not help during this period, but warns that he will also be wary of WhatsApp. Abuse by the Taliban.

Jackson also questioned the timing of Facebook and WhatsApp’s decision to ban accounts related to the Taliban, saying that the US government is still in peace talks with militant groups in Doha and has signed diplomatic agreements with its leadership to terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. “Why are they coming now, they are in power? Then why didn’t they come a few years ago?” she said.

Facebook stated: “According to U.S. law, the Taliban are sanctioned as a terrorist organization and we have prohibited them from using our services. This means that we will delete accounts maintained by the Taliban or on behalf of the Taliban, and prohibit praise, support, and representation.

“Facebook does not make decisions about the recognized government of any particular country, but respects the authority of the international community in making these decisions.”

WhatsApp later stated that although it was obliged to comply with U.S. sanctions laws, “in view of the evolution of the situation in Afghanistan, it is seeking more information from relevant U.S. authorities.”



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