The Taliban launched a brazen 20-hour assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul yesterday, and for some reason instead of picking up a gun and fighting the spokesmen for both sides just slagged each other off on Twitter all day.
The spokesman for the U.S. led International Security Assistance Force started it by noting a Taliban flack's claim that the outcome of the war in Afghanistan will inevitably favor the Islamists: "Question is how much longer will terrorist put innocent Afghans in harm's way?"
Abdulqahar Balkhi, who maintains a somewhat official Twitter feed for the Taliban government, saw that and replied (translated from abbreviated text-speak): "I don't know. You have been putting them in 'harm's way' for the past 10 years. Razed whole villages and markets. And still have the nerve to talk bout 'harm's way.'"
As the Guardian noted, the two accounts when back and forth a few times, with ISAF citing UN statistics showing that the Taliban have caused 80% of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and taunting the Taliban Tweeter with YouTube video of an American commander checking in on troops after the attack: "Hey @alemarahweb, does your boss do this?"
Importing warfare into the world of Twitter is obviously a positive development, since Tweets don't kill—indeed, no one was harmed during the skirmish. No wait. Twenty-seven people died in the embassy attack. It's unclear how many accounts were blocked during the episode.
[Image via Getty.]