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Taliban and NATO take the fight to Twitter

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After a 20-hour battle between Taliban insurgents and NATO forces ended in Kabul Wednesday, the fight moved online.

In dueling Twitter posts  @ISAFmedia, the Twitter handle of the international security and assistance forces in Kabul, and @ABalkhi, the handle of Abdulqahar Balkhi or the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s name for the country, have taken shots at each other in what Mashable described as uncharacteristically provocative” messages.

The messages deflected blame for civilian casualties in not only this week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy, but throughout the decade-long conflict. The two attacked each others posts and it was notable that NATO even engaged in the online fight, given that the Twitter handle is almost exclusively used for routine military updates.

“Artists and celebs beefing on twitter? *yawn* How about NATO and the Taliban?” @JustBlaze posted on Twitter.

“This *might* be significant. Def. odd,” Matt Spangard added.

Indeed, the back-and-forth, which was chronicled in detail in the Mashable article, drew more head scratching from observers than anything. There was an almost comic tone, despite the fact that it followed a violent battle in which at least 16 civilians were killed, and frequent notes that it was ironic that “people who are literally shooting at each other” would take time out to shoot dueling statistics and insults at one another.

“There's an SNL skit in here somewhere,” Benton Kubicki tweeted.

“the Taliban's dialogue sounds like Snoop Dog post mild stroke,” Jason Thomas said when he sent the Mashable article to his Twitter followers.

Several posts built on the “make tweets, not war” theme, while several others asked if “World War III will be fought on Twitter?” But few forgot that this was simply a short break from very real violence.

“Taliban, NATO spar on Twitter. If only they could keep it there,” Rich Brooks tweeted.

Image credit Melanie Holtsman