In a bid to attract global audience, the Taliban has been aggressively pushing its digital campaign. However, its most recent addition to the campaign — an Android app — has been pulled from Google's Play Store.
The Pashto-language app featured official statements and videos from the insurgent group and was taken off Play Store after it was reported by U.S.-based SITE Intel Group, which monitors the social media activities of such organisations, Bloomberg reported.
According to recent reports, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the app is no longer available on Play Store.
A Taliban spokesman had told Bloomberg that the app "is part of our advanced technological efforts to make more global audience."
The Taliban has been fairly active online, especially through its website, which features news, interviews, videos, statements and weekly analyses. The website is available in five languages, including English.
Seeing that the app was primarily in Pashto, Tore Hamming, a militant Islamism researcher at the European University Institute, told the Guardian that the intended audience may have been the local Pashtun population and "could thus be perceived as an attempt to bolster its support in eastern Afghanistan where IS – especially in Nangarhar and Paktika – is pushing for control."
Bloomberg also reported that social media platforms have been heavily criticised for not monitoring the activities of organisations like the Taliban, which uses social media for recruitments and to raise funds.