Pro-ISIS Group Releases English-Narrated Video Discrediting Afghan Taliban, Claiming U.S. Won The Long-Term Battle In Afghanistan By Manipulation Strategies

May 17, 2022

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On May 17, 2022, Tarjuman Al-Asawirti, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet, released a video that argues that the U.S. and its Western allies succeeded in manipulating the Afghan Taliban politically, intellectually, and economically, just as it did with other jihadi groups except ISIS. The video is the first released by the media outlet since August 2021.[1]

Titled "The Crusade Shaming Tactics," the English-narrated video, which includes Arabic subtitles, starts with the following message: "Manipulators use shaming tactics to make others feel unworthy and therefore to defer to them, manipulators can make one feel shamed for even daring to challenge. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy. This tactic is used by the Crusaders against Muslims to change their religious behavior. For this reason, God warned his Prophet, peace be upon him, not to accept anything from the infidels that might lead to rapprochement with them. This is to not accept any opinion or criticism from the polytheists. Today there are many Muslims who have become victims to this tactic with which the Crusaders control their minds and behavior of them. Some of them became apostates seeking the approval of the Crusaders."

As the narrator speaks, an animation clip shows a "crusader warrior" walking onto an emblem that reads, in English, "The Central Intelligence Agency, United States of America." Next, the video shows photos of "the apostates who sought to please the Crusaders," including photos of Afghan officials, among them Taliban officials, standing next to U.S. officials such as former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

In the next part of the video, the narrator names the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda as examples of jihadi groups that the U.S.-led coalition, called in the video the "Crusader's coalition," managed to manipulate, because "they abandon the doctrine of the former leaders.[2]" However, the video shows emblems of other jihadi groups, like the Muslim Brothers, Hamas, and Jabhat Al-Nusra, which is known today as Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).

The video plays archival footage of an Afghan Taliban official saying in Arabic that today the Islamic world has more than 50 Muslim states, compared with the time of the Prophet, when there was one Islamic ummah and one emir. As he speaks, the video shows an Arabic caption that reads: "Taliban rejects the principal of the Islamic Caliphate under weak pretexts."

Next, the video uses archival footage documenting the ISIS attack on Kabul airport at the time of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is meant to underline its argument about how the Afghan Taliban is manipulated by the U.S. The footage has a caption that reads: "Coordination between Taliban and Americans in Kabul airport to deter terrorism."

"Afghan Taliban Today Is Nationalist Not Islamic"

The narrator continues to underline how the Afghan Taliban acts as a proxy to the U.S., suggesting that the group is now acting as a "nationalist patriotic state" rather than a purely Islamic state, similar to the Saudi model, and noting that the U.S. allows such a model as long as it acknowledges Western values and supremacy.

"ISIS The Only Model Of Jihad"

The narrator further notes that ISIS is the only jihadi model that believes in the Caliphate and rejects Western supremacy, particularly after the current leaders of Al-Qaeda, including the Taliban, have abandoned their predecessors' doctrine. The video then shows news reports highlighting the support of Afghan Taliban officials for extending ties with Western countries such as France, protecting historical sites and non-Muslim minorities. To further demonstrate the alleged ties between the U.S. and the Afghan Taliban, the video shows General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, telling a reporter that Washington would agree to coordinate security efforts with the Taliban to counter ISIS in Afghanistan.

"America Won The Battle In Afghanistan"

The narrator claims that the Afghan Taliban, depite its efforts to depict the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as a victory, has actually lost to the U.S., arguing that the Crusaders' Coalition won the long-term battle in Afghanistan and will continue to control the country ecomomically and politically beccause of its influence over the Afghan Taliban.

Reminding viewers that ISIS is the only actual jihadi group determined to fight the U.S., the video shows President Joe Biden pledging to pursue ISIS following the suicide attack on Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. servicemen.

"Muslims Should Counter The Crusaders' Manipulation Strategy"

The video then reviews some of the 33 war strategies used by "the Crusaders" to manipulate their victims. "The best defense against morale warriors is to give them no target. If you have to do something nasty and not in harmony with your stated position or public image, use a cat's claw, some agent to act for you and hide your role in the action," says the narrator, describing one stagey.

The video plays an audio clip of ISIS "Sheikhs Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi and Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi" telling supporters that a true Muslim should express his hostility to the infidels and never hide it. If they do not, then they are not Muslims, says the audio, stressing that hatred towards infidels is not enough. "You can hate the infidels but not necessarily consider them an enemy."

"Afghan Taliban Is Now Siding With America"

Returning to the U.S. strategy to manipulate Muslims, the video argues that Washington succeeded in using "Qatar as a cat's claw to tame the Taliban in the long run." The narrator adds that the scheme managed to convince the Taliban to fight terrorism, adhere to a democratic constitution, protect Buddhists' polytheism, and seek to join the UN. He says that the U.S. is now manipulating the Afghan Taliban intellectually, psychologically, and religiously.

"With this dangerous tactic, America put the Taliban movement on the side of the Crusaders' coalition and prevented the Taliban from joining the Islamic Caliphate," the narrator argues.

"People Of Afghanistan Should Join ISIS Caliphate"

The video concludes with a message to the people of Afghanistan, with the narrator warning them: "Do not sell your religion and the blood of your brothers to the traitors who seek to be part of the global Crusaders system. Save yourselves from the fire, save yourself from the betrayal of the Taliban. You must join the Islamic Caliphate that wants to govern with the rules of Islam and does not recognize the borders between Muslims. The Islamic Caliphate wants to recover all the occupied Muslim countries from Andalusia in the west to the Philippines in the east."


[1] Telegram, May 17, 2022.

[2] I.e., Osama Bin Laden and other founding leaders.

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