Avoiding Unnecessary Tensions and Discussions in the Virtual Homeland

The changes that occurred in Afghanistan during the two decades of nonTaliban rule have had a lasting impact on the society. Despite the obstacles and efforts to mitigate its effects, it is clear to all, including the ruling group, that it is not possible to return the country to the state it was in 2001 or to a path that would continue that dark period. The environment and infrastructure of life changed during this time, and new factors and tools entered people‘s lives, making it impossible to return. One of these transformative factors was the media. The Internet and social media have now become the primary tools for politics, business, advertising, communication, and struggle for all parties, and political confrontation between different spectrums and groups now takes place in the media and virtual world more than ever before. Unlike in the first period, the Taliban have now accepted this situation and, while attempting to suppress opposing voices and control the expression of the residents, they do not reject the new field and tools, but instead are intent on conquering this field and new tools.

In the initial months of their return to power, the Taliban leaders were taken aback by the changes that had occurred in the country, despite being relatively familiar with the media transformation that had taken place over the past two decades. They frequently complained about the role of the media and declared that those who fought against the Taliban with words weremore dangerous than those who fought with weapons. Orders to suppress the media and silence the opposition were issued repeatedly; however, it was not possible to completely silence dissenting voices. Despite stringent censorship, voices of dissent and nonTaliban words remained faint but alive on domestic television channels. We can still observe signs of a nonTaliban movement in the media within Afghanistan. People‘s access to the Internet has prevented the imposition of total darkness, allowing them to learn about each other‘s lives and current events in spite of the rulers wishes. The Taliban have also been forced to speak and appear in videos, thus making people more aware of the backwardness and weaknesses of the group than in the past.

This situation presented an opportunity for Afghan diaspora to take a dynamic and active part in national politics and society. In effect, a virtual homeland has been created where foreigners can have a greater presence than those living domestically. However, the question remains whether this opportunity will be used appropriately. In principle, one should be optimistic about the overall trend and longterm effects of this development. The fact that exile and censorship are no longer feasible in the modern world as they were in the past, and that people can remain in contact, work and fight in the virtual homeland even when they have left their physical homeland and a repressive and antifreedom force is in power, is an unprecedented event. Its consequences will also be novel and unexpected. Nevertheless, the signs of destruction and opportunistic deviations in the virtual world are becoming increasingly evident each day.

The management of presence and work in the virtual world is just as important as in nonvirtual life. Too often, trivial conversations occupy millions of our compatriots for long periods of time, causing them to forget their priorities and become distracted by abstract and contentious topics, thus neglecting the more pressing issues of bread, water, education, and freedom. The attempt to create solidarity against the occupation of our homeland by a regressive force is often undermined by destructive tensions that lead to nothing but division and the wasting of resources. Those who have access to enough bread and water and are unable to relate to the real suffering of the majority of the country‘s inhabitants may be more susceptible to such deviations than others. It is beneficial to help each other to steer conversations and discussions towards constructive paths and the main priorities of today‘s generation. The media can play a decisive role in preventing the digression of conversations by carefully selecting topics and influential figures, as well as speaking thoughtfully in interviews and speeches.