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Taliban Offer Question-and-Answer Service Online 284

Posted by samzenpus
from the dear-zabihullah dept.
First time accepted submitter nachiketas points out this story about a new online service offered by the Taliban. "Worried about whether Islamic verses on Facebook are allowed? Or that suicide bombers kill innocent civilians? Afghanistan's Taliban have set up a new question-and-answer section on their website to address such issues. The facility on Voice of Jihad, the official website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the Taliban's own name for their movement — allows readers to submit queries to spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. It is a demonstration of how far the insurgents' attitude towards technology has changed."
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Taliban Offer Question-and-Answer Service Online

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  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:42PM (#39545131)

    I'd love to submit a ton of subversive questions to troll the Islamofascists.

    But if I were to do that, I'm pretty sure that the US government's spying-on-our-own-civilians program won't notice the subversive quality of the questions, and the response would be more along the lines of "OMG this guy is talking to the terrorists!"

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by N0Man74 (1620447) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:49PM (#39545473)

      "If I submit a sincere question to you, will I find myself on no-fly lists and be investigated as a subversive by my own government?"

  • Of Interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dark grep (766587) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:44PM (#39545145)

    Looks like a very good way to get yourself tagged as a 'person of interest' if you access it from any western country. Anyone want an all expenses paid holiday to some non-specific Caribbean island?

  • Umm? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:47PM (#39545159) Journal
    "It is a demonstration of how far the insurgents' attitude towards technology has changed."

    Other than some tactical intimidating-cell-operators-into-shutting-down-at-certain-times, based on the (plausible) theory that NATO was having a merry old time eavesdropping, I don't remember the Taliban being terribly anti-technology... Not particularly big enthusiasts(in public) of internet pornography or applied empiricism; but perfectly happy to use technological artifacts where available.

    I do look forward to seeing what the /b/tards discover when they engage Mr. Mujahid in a game of "Haram or Halal?"...
    • According to TFA, Taliban used to ban TVs on territory they controlled.

      • Re:Umm? (Score:4, Informative)

        by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:10PM (#39545269)

        But is that due to speech / communication they didn't like, or because it was technology itself?

        • by Nimey (114278)

          Does it matter?

          • It matters if your objective is to figure out why things are the way they are, in the interest of figuring out how to change those things. History is replete with cases of people trying to effect change by attacking problems from angles that represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the contributing factors involved, with accordingly hilarious or disastrous results, depending on your perspective.

            • by Nimey (114278)

              I think you're making the unfounded assumption that extremists like the Taliban can be reasoned with.

              • I make no such assumption. Rather, I start from the assumption that in many scenarios, they cannot be reasoned with in any useful capacity. However, to assume that the treatment of any organization, which is necessarily comprised of individuals operating within a structure, should be completely black and white is a foolish approach. Likewise, unilateral action of any kind taken in support of or against any such organization without understanding the precise workings of the body in question is likely to be j

              • Re:Umm? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by spasm (79260) on Monday April 02, 2012 @12:38AM (#39545985) Homepage

                For sure. It's like reasoning with Rick Santorum. I mean, here's Foreign Policy magazine's quiz to see if you can successfully identify the difference between Rick's quotes and those of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:

                http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/29/grand_ayatollah_or_grand_old_party [foreignpolicy.com]

              • by Ihmhi (1206036)

                I think you're making the unfounded assumption that extremists like the Taliban can be reasoned with.

                "Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people." -House, MD

              • by gox (1595435)

                I think you're making the unfounded assumption that extremists like the Taliban can be reasoned with.

                Your parent's comment doesn't require that property. Even if you are dealing with irrational animals, what you know about how they function will still help you solve problems exactly the same way if it were otherwise.

                Making up random facts won't help your cause. Either you'd be fooling yourself to believe that some action is helping your cause, or someone else would be doing it for you. Then you'd be the one who's irrational, no?

                Also, are you making the unfounded assumption that "extremists" like the Taliba

            • Yep, here's one such example [slashdot.org] from recent history.
      • ...and nothing of value was lost...

      • Re:Umm? (Score:4, Funny)

        by nbauman (624611) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @11:08PM (#39545583) Homepage Journal

        Best story I heard about that: The Taliban drove up to this woman's house in an SUV and said, "Sister, in the times of the Prophet, they didn't have televisions."

        She said to them: "In the times of the Prophet they didn't have automobiles either. Come back on a camel."

        • You're joking, but did you know that e.g. Wahhabi don't wear underpants, because "the Prophet didn't"?

          Somehow it doesn't prevent them from carrying AKs and RPGs, though. Why not wage some honest-to-Allah jihad with swords and bows? The Prophet did it that way, after all, and it worked for him.

          • by nbauman (624611)

            That was supposed to be a real story. I think I read it in the Wall Street Journal.

            I can believe that Pashtun women say things like that.

        • by Nursie (632944)

          And they didn't punish her for talking back to a man?

          I have trouble believing this story...

          • by tbird81 (946205)

            She was raped and stoned to death after she said this retort, then her sons were killed and daughters taken as wives for the killers. But the joke isn't funny when that piece of realism is added on.

          • by nbauman (624611)

            Have you been to Afghanistan?

            Or do you just depend on stereotypes you get from tv, radio and newspapers?

      • Re:Umm? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday April 02, 2012 @03:46AM (#39546679) Homepage Journal

        Taliban used to ban TVs on territory they controlled.

        hence the name - telly ban

    • by ArcherB (796902)

      ...but perfectly happy to use technological artifacts where available.

      True. They are Islamist, not Amish.

    • Re:Umm? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@NosPAM.justconnected.net> on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:09PM (#39545265)

      Considering their goal is to bring us back about a thousand years, it stands to reason that they have issues with technology. From Wikipedia:

      Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to forbid a wide variety of previously lawful activities in Afghanistan. One Taliban list of prohibitions included: pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards. They also got rid of employment, education, and sports for all women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and characterizations of living things, no matter if they were drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men had to wear a head covering.

      • The Taliban have no qualms about using instruments of evil to fight evil. Technology being an instrument of evil and all.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Their goal is far more primitive than that. Is is simply to ensure that they can continue to sexually abuse the women they call they wifes (of any age and more than one) and force them to obedient slaves.

        That they be able to violently react to anyone who challenges their male rights and their ability to hide behind a religious book and claim God made them them narcissists so that is normal behaviour.

        Now when it comes to laying the blame, first door to kick in and find some arses to kick would be in the

    • They banned the old soviet weather balloons as sorcery (equating weather forecasting with telling the future).

  • The website itself (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:49PM (#39545179) Journal

    Neither TFS nor TFA link to the website in question, so here's it:

    http://shahamat-english.com/ [shahamat-english.com]

    Unfortunately, it seems that the English version doesn't have a Q&A section, so you can't troll them unless you know Pashto. Too bad.

  • Why ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:53PM (#39545191)

    ... is everything modded "+Die Infidel"?

    Can we get that on Slashdot?

  • Not a good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:58PM (#39545215)

    Looks like a very good way to get yourself tagged as a 'person of interest' if you access it from any western country. Anyone want an all expenses paid holiday to some non-specific Caribbean island?

    I'm not sure that it's an encouraging sign when we are more afraid of what our government will do to us for accessing a terrorists' website than what the terrorists will.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Looks like a very good way to get yourself tagged as a 'person of interest' if you access it from any western country. Anyone want an all expenses paid holiday to some non-specific Caribbean island?

      I'm not sure that it's an encouraging sign when we are more afraid of what our government will do to us for accessing a terrorists' website than what the terrorists will.

      Honestly, just visiting that website will not get you flagged for anything. Do they monitor that website? Possibly. But unless you actively go to other sites, such as the al Qaeda training/recruiting forums or the websites that usually get beheading/propaganda videos, you would not show up in any cross referencing the government would do. A lot of the people that go to websites such as this have no connection with the Taliban. It could be academics, reporters, the curious, or hell even a few trolls (th

      • I figure they had me tagged when I came here.

      • by nbauman (624611)

        Oh, that's reassuring. If I visit that website, Homeland Security will merely record my name and file it away in case I visit any other suspicious websites.

    • Re:Not a good sign (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:38PM (#39545423)

      There's actually a few questions I'd like to ask them myself (won't bother, since I assume they only take questions in Farsi, or maybe Arabic as well, neither of which I speak). I can probably guess their answers, but hearing it straight from them, instead of indirectly through our own "expert analysis", would be... well, more scientific, I suppose. Direct observations are almost always more accurate and reliable than indirect observations.

      First, I'd ask "if you had the ability to eliminate every 'infidel' from the planet, would you?". Second, "if the invaders were to leave, completely, on the sole condition that Afghanistan become a non-Islamic, but non anti-Islamic, state, would that be preferable to continued occupation?"

      The first is sort of a "can we co-exist with these people? can they be reasonable?" If we were to leave them completely alone, would they keep to themselves, or would they remain a threat to our security? A classical Islamic state would tolerate 'infidels' even in their own country - during the Middle Ages, all you had to do was pay an extra tax, and *that* was mainly to get out of the military draft. It was illegal to *leave* the state religion (on pain of death, often), but for the most part, if you stayed quiet and obeyed the secular laws, the religious laws left you alone. However, a modern fundamentalist Islamic state probably would not be so... tolerant.

      The second is a "what do they care more about: being left alone, or being fundamentalist Muslims?" Because, undoubtedly, a fundamentalist state of any religion is generally bad. Even a fundamentalist atheist state would be oppressive and essentially *wrong*. So it is in the best interests of justice, of humanity, that Afghanistan not revert to a fundamentalist Islamic state, as the Taliban desires. However, I suspect that much of their popular support comes not from people wanting to be ruled by some theocrat, but by people who want the invaders out of their homeland. I can sympathize - I want our "invaders" out of their homeland and back in ours, as well. The question is, would their leadership accept not ruling Afghanistan themselves if it meant a free Afghanistan? It's not likely, given the past decade, but it's possible. And any possibility for a peaceful but beneficial resolution to war is worth entertaining.

      • Farsi is French for Persian. It's the language of Iran. Arabic is the Esperanto of the Islamic world. Lots of dialects, but generally mutually intelligible all over. Start with that, and move to Pashto, and then one of the many other other languages spoken in Afghanistan. Persian would not be the language of first choice, since Iran prefers to sneak around rather than make things obvious.

        • by reub2000 (705806)

          Esperanto? I think the term you where looking for is lingua franca.

        • Re:Not a good sign (Score:4, Informative)

          by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @11:52PM (#39545773)

          Farsi is French for Persian.

          No, Farsi is the Persian word for Persian. The French for Persian is apparently "persan".

          Citation [wiktionary.org]

          And Arabic is not the Esperanto of the Islamic world - unless Arabic is the idealistic but extremely rare constructed language intended for auxiliary use but ultimately relegated to a small hopeful minority. Arabic is more the Latin of the Islamic world - the Holy Book is written* in it, so many people know it, even in areas where nobody speaks it historically.

          * Yes, I know the Bible was not originally in Latin, but the most common version, especially in the Middle Ages, was.

      • Considering that the official language of Afghanistan is Pashto, I doubt they'll take any questions in Farsi.

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          Weird, could have sworn Farsi (aka Persian) is the main language of Afghanistan.

          And Wikipedia seems to back me up: "Dari... or Farsi-ye Dari...As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto. Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the mother-tongue of approximately 50% of the population, serving as the country's lingua franca."

          In any case, I don't speak it.

      • by Tom (822)

        won't bother, since I assume they only take questions in Farsi, or maybe Arabic as well, neither of which I speak

        I thought checking that was trivial - like, going there and having a look - and then it turns out that our news agencies are still deep within the middle ages. How can you write a whole article about a website without providing the URL ???

        Fortunately, we have Google. But it appears the site is slashdotted - at least it's slow:
        http://shahamat-english.com/ [shahamat-english.com]

        but the site is in english, so I don't see why they wouldn't be answering questions in english.

    • It's not. But isn't it interesting?

      Gives you that good ol' fuzzy Soviet feeling, where you feared your government more than your enemy as well.

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Well, maybe YOU are more afraid of the government than of the people who convince random people blow up other random people. I'm not.

  • Mod me redundant... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:18PM (#39545313)
    ...or generally stupid, but where are the traditional April Fools' stories? Is this the dark side of the serious, corporate slashdot? Did we all grow up and I missed the boat?
    • by Raenex (947668)

      I don't miss it. Mod me curmudgeon.

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      The world is so fundamentally ridiculous, April Fools' Day has been deemed redundant and surplus to requirements.

  • First we have an old guy who talks to an invisible man explain to us how Marxism is unrealistic, now 21st century tech is used to teach us 7th century philosophy. I think I'll be starting a new religion which proposes that we're in fact living under bizarro-God who delights in random acts of chaos and irony and the real one is in charge of another universe.
  • http://shahamat-english.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14632:diapered-us-soldiers&catid=3:articles&Itemid=5 [shahamat-english.com] "I'll let you into a little secret though; some press release has even revealed that the US-NATO forces uncontrollably pee in their pants during the fight with Mujahideen, or for the fear of attack by Taliban. "
  • Should infidels who blaspheme believers with "April Fools" jesting be forcibly circumcised before the mujaheddin behead them in the name of Allah? -- Konfused in Kandahar

  • Is this some sort of April Fools joke?
    • by erroneus (253617)

      I think maybe no. It looks pretty ... I don't want to say "legit" but it's stupid enough to be believable.

      There are lots of things I would like to ask, but I can't expect any answers I would like to hear. The fact is, they are of the mindset that the world should change for them rather than they find a way to get along with the rest of the world. That's where the conversations should probably end. But then again, the rest of the world probably thinks that about the U.S... you know, with all the copyrigh

  • I doubt it's much different from the "ask the mullah" pages on less radical Islamic sites. They're usually about some really mundane stuff, though the subjects probably seem pretty odd to non-muslims. Lots of questions about ritual ablutions (washing up) and what sorts of things make you "ritually unclean" again.

  • Looking at the site (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday April 02, 2012 @02:04AM (#39546331) Homepage

    OK, so they have a web site. [shahamat-english.com] It's hosted in Malaysia, runs Joomla content management, and uses Gmail for replies. They have Facebook and Twitter links. Their videos are on Youtube, and they have a movie site [shahamat-movie.com] to provide a front for them. The video isn't too useful without translation.

    "The Afghanistan Of Islam Rejects Pollution of Western Democracy" [shahamat-english.com] is interesting reading. It's a good summary of the theocratic position, and gives some insight into why this is such a tough war to end.

  • by Tom (822) on Monday April 02, 2012 @03:57AM (#39546715) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure they get the irony, but their contact person has a gmail.com e-mail address.

    So a) anything he receives or writes probably gets copied to the NSA in realtime and b) he's supporting the US advertisement industry.

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