Unlike flare-ups with China in distant seas, or domestic terror in the closed world of North Korea, there are smartphones aplenty in Afghanistan. Those devices have provided a window on the situation and transformed how it played out in the US and beyond.
Without all of the vivid user-generated content, the situation would have been dry bulletin for Reuters: “Unrest as Taliban advances – busy scenes at airport as people try to flee”. Another colourless update to add to the pile in the American mind from a seemingly endless military quagmire.
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