Taliban and forces in Twitter war of words

A Taliban insurgent has battled Nato-led security forces in Afghanistan through an unusual medium – the social network Twitter.

A war of words over the meaning of the word 'civilian' erupted yesterday when a Taliban spokesperson, Abdulqahar Balkhi, messaged the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to ask why the security agency had captured another Taliban spokesperson, who Mr Balkhi implied should be regarded as a civilian.

"He was official Taliban spokesman. Taliban = hardly a civilian," the press representative for ISAF responded.

Vowing to "let the enlightening begin", Mr Balkhi countered by quoting an explanation of the term 'civilian' as defined by the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, to which the ISAF representative replied: "Considering the Taliban's civilian casualty count during Eid, lecturing us on the definition of civilian is a bit of a joke."

ISAF also clashed with Mr Balkhi on the social network in September over a Taliban tweet boasting about an attack on Kabul.

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