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Twitter restricts account of Taliban’s longstanding spokesman

Zabihullah Mujahid’s account blocked minutes after he condemned deadly bombing in capital Kabul

S.K. Khan   | 04.10.2021
Twitter restricts account of Taliban’s longstanding spokesman

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 

In a surprise move, Twitter has restricted the account of the Taliban’s longstanding spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The social media giant cited “some unusual activity” from Mujahid 's account as the reason for the move, which occurred minutes after he condemned a deadly bomb blast in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Officially, Mujahid now serves as deputy minister of information and culture for the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Though his Pashto and Dari language Twitter handles have been restricted, his recently created English account is still easily viewable.

The move has triggered mixed reactions among Afghans.

Supporters and members of the Taliban have dubbed it a slap in the face of freedom of speech.

"Freedom of speech advocates and ‘false’ claimants must now remain committed to their words, their actions and words are as different as heaven and earth," tweeted one of his supporters, using the hashtag #Unblock_zabehullah_m33.

Others, welcoming the move, presented their own arguments in similar ways through tweets.

"Zabihullah Mujahid, who days ago used to claim responsibility for targeted terror attacks against Afghan forces and civilians, is now condemning terror attacks aimed at him and his men. If you plant rice, you will harvest rice,” tweeted a user who hailed the blockade.

Neither Mujahid nor the Taliban have responded so far to the development.

At least eight people were killed in a blast at a mosque in Kabul on Sunday, according to media reports.

Twenty people were wounded in the bombing, the BBC Pashto service reported.

Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in the interim Taliban government, said three people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Mujahid earlier said on Twitter that “a “number of civilians” had died in the blast “near the entrance of the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul.”

People had gathered at the mosque for a memorial service for the late mother of Mujahid.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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