Senior Taliban leader prefers Elon Musk's Twitter over Mark Zuckerberg's Threads

The shot in the arm that Twitter needed.

Tan Min-Wei | July 11, 2023, 09:26 PM

Mothership WhatsApp banner

Mothership Telegram banner

Twitter has been endorsed by a senior Taliban leader, over Meta's new social media platform, Threads.


Anns Haqqani, who is connected to the infamous Haqqani network of Islamist fighters who are prominent backers of Afghanistan's Taliban government, tweeted on July 10.

Screenshot via Twitter

Haqqani said that Twitter had two advantages over other social media platforms, which were freedom of speech, and the second being the public nature and credibility of Twitter.

Haqqani then accused Twitter's competitor Meta of having an "intolerant policy".


The Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, until the country was invaded by the United States and NATO allies after the September 11 attacks.

It spent the next 20 years recovering and regrouping, fighting against in an insurgency against the U.S. backed central government, until it was able to take back full control of the country in 2021.

During that entire time, the Taliban was considered a terrorist organisation and was banned from most popular social media platforms, including those owned by Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and Google, such as YouTube.

Twitter walked back that ban when the Taliban returned to power, with the Daily Mail reporting in 2021 that Twitter would allow the organisation as long as it did not "glorify violence".

Twitter has since been taken over by self-proclaimed "Free Speech Absolutist" Elon Musk, and is regularly accused of promoting far right speech, and banning those who disagree with him.

Meta, which operates an array of platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, has recently released Threads and is taking a notably different path.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted by Reuters as saying "We are definitely focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place", while Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri was quoted by The Verge saying Threads was "not going to do anything to encourage politics and hard news".

Analysts are warning that Twitter faces an "exodus of users", as the company continues to introduce unpopular measures to cut cost and raise revenue, such as mass layoffs, requiring users to pay to receive "blue tick" verification, as well as limiting how many tweets a user can access per day.

The Guardian reports that Musk has met such ongoing challenges with charm and grace, first challenging Zuckerberg to a cage match, then, well, whatever this is:

Screenshot via Twitter

Birds of a feather

Meanwhile, the Taliban's concern for free speech appears to be somewhat limited, with Freedom House issuing a warning in August 2022 that Human Rights activists faced "immense danger", while also banning women from attending university.

They do appear to be committed Twitter users however, with a January 2023 BBC report saying that the Taliban's leadership are currently paying for Twitter verification, prominently displaying their blue ticks, although it should be noted that Anas Haqqani is not verified.

Screenshot via Twitter

Nice use of hashtags though.

Immediately, commenters on Twitter noted the irony of the situation.

Screenshot via Twitter

Screenshot via Twitter

Of course, while freedom of speech is always good, someone always wants more.

Screenshot via Twitter

Related stories

Top image via Twitter & Unsplash