Google removed an app developed by Islamic fundamentalist movement the Taliban, designed to attract a global audience, after it was flagged by a US group which monitors jihadist social media, according to Bloomberg.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the Pashto language app was removed due to technical issues and may be back on the Play Store soon. He added that it is “part of our advanced technological efforts to make [a] more global audience.”
However, a BBC report said it was taken down because it violated a Google policy regarding hate speech.
“Our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers. That’s why we remove apps from Google Play that violate those policies,” Google said in a statement.
The app includes official statements and videos from the group, which also has a website in five languages, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts giving regular updates on its activities.
The website and Twitter accounts have been taken down on many occasions as the Afghan government tries to thwart Taliban communication efforts.
“The app will help Taliban to further psychologically weaken Afghanistan by their propaganda reports,” Bloomberg quoted Jawid Kohistani, a Kabul-based security analyst, as saying.
Meanwhile, Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said he wasn’t aware of the app.