The most ironic part of the media imagery surrounding the Taliban’s political takeover of Afghanistan is that unlike the U.S., theirs was a peaceful transition of power -- at least in terms of how it has engaged with the U.S. military.
Not one shot has been fired -- yet -- and the two sides have had surprisingly orderly communication surrounding the rules of engagement and how to evacuate U.S. citizens, etc. Compare that with the not-exactly-peaceful transition of power in the last U.S. presidential election.
That said, the Taliban continue their brutal ways when it comes to quelling domestic dissent and are likely to step that up as they escalate the imposition of Sharia law.
But at least so far, they are winning the PR war, utilizing social media, and even consenting to orderly interviews with Afghani media outlets, in an effort to position the Taliban as a “new and improved” brand of totalitarian Islamic fundamentalists.
And in the ultimate spin job, the Taliban even consented to having a spokesman interviewed live on air by a popular female Afghani TV news anchor.
The Taliban have learned from other totalitarian regimes that modern war is more than just military might, but also requires an adept use of media -- especially social media -- has part of their hybrid warfare.
The U.S., by comparison, has lost the media battle, and has been portrayed by its own -- as well as foreign media outlets -- as losers, and has spent much of its time undermining its own leadership (President Biden), even though he is fulfilling an agreement made by his predecessor, as well as the will of the majority of the American public.
Which only goes to prove that all is not necessarily fair in love and hybrid war.