Propaganda on the Taliban (2)

This follows on from my post on this topic the other day.

They really can’t help themselves. The world is as they see it and when they apprehend the world they will make the world fit into their congitive map rather than adjust that map to accurately (as possible) reflect the world. In media studies it is called confirmation bias.

This is the Guardian blaming the Taliban for the chaos around Kabul airport.

The headline itself sets the line: “Taliban seek to assert control around Kabul airport as death toll rises to 20”. Which already associates the claimed death toll with the Taliban. In fact at least some of these deaths have occurred within the airport perimeter – which is, apparently, “American soil”.

It was not clear, however, whether the Taliban’s increasingly organised presence around the airport would also result in it controlling who is able to enter the airport and leave the country as the group’s spokesmen used the situation at the airport to criticise the US.

Well. Since the evacuation operation is a US operation and since it is chaos it doesn’t seem unreasonable for a Taliban spokesman to “use the situation at the airport to criticise the US”.

In an audio clip posted online, Amir Khan Motaqi, the chief of the Taliban’s guidance council, described US actions as “tyranny” – though it is Taliban fighters who have beaten and shot at those trying to access the airport over the last week

This is the sort of liberal twisting we expect in the Guardian. The text itself just a few lines above this refers to the Taliban firing in the air to get people to form orderly queues. Now Peter Beaumont claims that they have been firing at people. Perhaps he is now referring to a different and new claim but it isn’t very clear and the claim is not substantiated. There are multiple media reports (and videos) of US troops firing in the air to deter crowds. For example this on Reuters. Early on in the chaos US troops shot and killed two men near the airport who were apparently armed. (Some reports suggest that the US troops mistakenly killed Taliban fighters who were firing into the air to control the crowds). I have seen a video report on Al Jazeera where reporters on the ground interviewed local Afghans near the airport and they said that both the US and Afghans had been shooting at people. (It isn’t clear to me whether this meant aiming at them or firing over their heads).

At least 20 people have died in the past seven days in and around Kabul airport during the evacuation effort that was triggered when Taliban insurgents took over the Afghan capital last week, a Nato official said on Sunday

Well. Yes and no. The evacuation chaos could of course be said to be the result of twenty years of occupation and a disastrous lack of planning in terms of the exit. But this text manages to blame it on the Taliban who took over Kabul.

Interestingly the article does concede that a major problem around the airport is the thousands of people who have come to the airport who are not on any official evacuation lists. The presence of these people is hindering the evacuation effort. In which case surely the author should be aknowledging the efforts by the Taliban to control these crowds and bring order to the situation?

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer