Social Media Uses Hashtag ‘Don’t Redeem The Taliban’ Before Intra-Afghan Peace Talks

Afghans share accounts of violence linked to the Taliban and messages of achievements in the past 19 years with the hashtag “don’t redeem the Taliban” as anxiety grows among the masses about the country’s future.

The accounts of alleged violence and human rights abuses with the hashtag phrase in Dari has been shared more than 100,000 times on Twitter, Reuters reports.

The messages gained traction as Afghan social media users spoke about the changes they expect if the Taliban comes to power again.

“By participating in this hashtag I want to tell those foreigners who insist on starting peace talks in Afghanistan, they have ignored or forgotten the crimes and violence committed by the Taliban against Afghan people,” a Kabul-based Twitter user told the news agency.

From photos of girls cycling across Kabul or even of the recent National Entrance Exams or children playing, the images and messages share the positive changes Afghanistan has seen and noted in the tweets.

When the Taliban were in power from 1996 to 2001, their rule was defined by violence, and their interpretation of Islamic law which forbade women from being educated or leaving the house without a male relative.

While the group claims its ideologies have changed, and it is comparatively more progressive towards women’s rights, Afghan activists remain concerned that the peace talks will not include adequate protection of human rights if the insurgent group returns to a role in formal power.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said he suspected the social media campaign was due to “anti-peace elements” and that “no legitimate rights will be lost” during the peace negotiations.

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