Google Deleted Taliban-Developed App From Play Store

April 4
4:40 AM 2016

Google has got rid of an online application for Android smartphones developed by Taliban whose goal is to boost the militant group's presence around the world. The app was launched on Google Play Store on Friday based on the report of U.S.-based SITE Intel Group that monitors jihadist social media.

Alemarah, Pashto language app contains videos and official statements from the Taliban.  It was the group's digital campaign to draw a wider audience worldwide.  The activity has an updated website that is available in five languages including Arabic and English.  It also has Facebook and Twitter accounts that provide every day updates on its rebellion. Their website and Twitter accounts had been condemned many times as the Afghan government attempted preventing communication efforts of the group, as reported by Bloomberg.

"The app will help Taliban to further psychologically weaken Afghanistan by their propaganda reports," said Jawid Kohistani, an independent Kabul-based security analyst.

With Taliban's invasion into smartphone apps, they are resorting to expand their visibility on the digital battlefield. Social media platforms have long been used to give out and exchange information between followers and detractors. They also run a channel on the encrypted messaging service Telegram.

According to Tore Hamming, the new app could possibly become a part of the Taliban's confrontation with Islamic State. ISIS is generally recognized for its proficiency in digital platforms and fighters faithful to the group have recently surfaced in pockets of eastern Afghanistan where their efforts of spreading false ideas have included radio station launch, based on The Guardian report.

The Taliban looks like they are playing catch-up with the Islamic States which are more technology cognizable competitors and has spread its visibility into Afghanistan.  The Islamic State was cited by experts as masters of the art of worldwide online jihadi recruiting with the use of social media platforms and chat rooms to impact young and specific disenfranchised targets, said Fortune.

With the removal of the Taliban-developed app Alemarah in Google Play Store, less incidence of jihadi recruitment will be lessened if not eliminated fully.

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