Taliban fighters are seen near Hamid Karzai International Airport as thousands of Afghans rush to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul on Aug. 16.
On Monday morning, during a live BBC news broadcast, journalist Yalda Hakim was interrupted by a phone call from a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen. Shaheen sought to reassure Hakim and British viewers watching at home that the people of Kabul were safe and that the Taliban wouldn't seek revenge after recapturing the Afghan capital for the first time in 20 years.
Shaheen isn't just calling Western journalists live on air. He is also one of a handful of Taliban representatives on Twitter, making announcements to hundreds of thousands of followers about the intentions of the organization, which in recent weeks and months has once again found a stronghold in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of US troops.
In the past two days, Shaheen has used Twitter to say that Taliban soldiers have been ordered not to enter people's homes, and described reports that soldiers were forcing young girls into marriage as "poisonous propaganda." The story Shaheen is telling on Twitter about the Taliban's actions and intentions is at odds both with news reports from the country and with the panic and fear expressed by Afghan citizens, many of whom have been trying to flee the country over the past few days.