Taliban Use Twitter to Boast of Afghan Official's Slaying

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 11:21 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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After Taliban insurgents killed an Afghan election official on Wednesday, the jihadist group’s spokesman took to Twitter to boast of carrying out the attack, the New York Times reported.
 
An official in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan said that two gunmen riding on a motorcycle opened fire on the head of the local office of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) at 8:45 a.m., and he died after arriving at a hospital.

Within an hour, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid issued a tweet in Dari boasting of the attack.

At around 9 a.m. Wednesday, “Engineer Mohammad Aman head of Kunduz Independent Election Commission was killed by our Mujahedeen in Takharistan area of Kunduz city,” the Taliban tweet read, using a shortened version of the victim’s name.

A spokesman for the commission in Kabul confirmed the killing, but said that despite the Taliban claim, it was too early to conclude who was behind it, the Times said.

“We will wait until the investigation is completed by the security organs and then say who was behind this attack,” said Noor Ahmad Noor, a spokesman for the commission. “He was a noble person and a good colleague.”
 
Amanullah had run the commission’s office in Kunduz  province since 2003, Noor said.
 
Last March Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar denounced Afghanistan’s planned April 2014 elections, calling them “a waste of time, nothing more.”

Mujahid, the Taliban tweeter, has long used the Internet to distribute his messages through Web sites, a Google email account and Facebook pages. He began using Twitter on Aug. 26, 2012, and in recent months has become much more active.

Most of his 1,468 followers are journalists, along with a smattering of Western military and diplomatic officials. Officials at Twitter could not immediately be reached to comment on the Taliban’s use of its service.

Only a few weeks ago, the IEC announced that it faced a critical shortage of women to carry out body searches at female polling stations to deter suicide bombings.

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