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U.S. forces in 'Twitter' war with Taliban

Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM   |   Comments

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KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. forces in Afghanistan say they've developed a new tactic in their war with the Taliban, using Twitter's 140-character messages as information weapons.

"The Taliban were just constantly putting out false information and propaganda," Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings said. "Some of it was so wrong we finally had to start engaging, and backing up our information with the facts."

Social media was the weapon of choice, he told CNN.

"It allows us to keep our followers dynamically informed while also keeping the enemy's statements in check," Cummings said.

A Twitter account that frequently puts out news reports favoring the Taliban recently tweeted, "Mujahideen bring down U.S. helicopter in Kunar."

International Security Assistance Force headquarters was quick to respond with its own tweet, CNN reported Wednesday.

"We have no reports of any missing helos. Take any Taliban reports with a block of salt," it said, followed with "Reports of a shoot-down are false."

The Taliban keeps up a steady stream of wildly inflated Twitter reports, Cummings said.

"The usual is every day we lose 20 tanks and 30 people, if you follow the Taliban. We pick and choose what we come back with."

"It was so false," he said of the Taliban tweets. "It dawned on us, we have to engage, to get the facts out."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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