#SanctionPakistan trends as violence rages in Afghanistan | Social Media News

As the violence of a Taliban offensive on government-held areas increases in Afghanistan, the use of the #SanctionPakistan Twitter hashtag by thousands has shown the antipathy of many Afghans for the perceived role of the country’s eastern neighbor .

As of Wednesday, the hashtag had been used more than 730,000 times, with at least 37% of those tweets tagged as originating from Afghanistan, according to data from social media analytics firm, Talkwalker.

One of the leading proponents of the trend was journalist Habib Khan Totakhil, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, who helped amplify voices using the hashtag.

“If you are Afghan or friend of Afghanistan, speak up,” he tweeted on Monday, when #SanctionPakistan began to see widespread use.

“Use whatever platform you have to support the Afghan call to end the proxy war. Afghanistan is under attack and needs you most now. #SanctionPakistan”.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been increasingly strained in recent months, with senior officials including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accusing Pakistan of actively supporting the Taliban offensive which has seen the group take control of at least nine district capitals since foreign troops began a final withdrawal.

Pakistan denies backing the armed group, with its foreign ministry saying it backs an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process, which has stalled in recent months.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry lashed out at his country’s critics, saying the Afghan military was responsible for its failure to hold its ground.

“With the 8th province falling to the Taliban, the Afghan people and the American people must question the so-called leadership of Afghanistan [as to] where 2 trillion dollars disappeared that they received to build the Afghan national army? ” he said.

“How come all the ministers and generals have become billionaires while the Afghan people are suffering from poverty? Who is responsible for this suffering? The corruption of leaders drowns nations and Afghanistan is an example.

A day earlier, the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a Pakistani government think tank, published research alleging that the #SanctionPakistan hashtag “was artificially pushed on August 9 and 10 by primarily sponsored accounts. by Indians and Afghans”, although he did not specify how an account was deemed “sponsored”.

Widespread use

Nonetheless, the hashtag continued to be widely used by Afghans, including journalists and rights activists.

“Pakistani State [has] chose less than 100,000 Taliban militants out of 35 million Afghans – today in every Afghan household [Pakistan] has an enemy, is it worth it? tweeted Wazhma Frogh, an Afghan rights activist.

“Why can’t the Pakistani state choose to stand with the Afghan nation instead? Millions of them, who have a lot in common with Pakistanis.

Daud Junbish, a prominent journalist, accused Pakistan of “supporting and directing terrorism”.

“Pakistan’s existence depends on supporting and directing terrorism. Unless and until this issue is addressed, the world will never be safe for anyone. #SanctionPakistan,” he tweeted.

Others have used the hashtag to share messages of solidarity with Afghan government forces currently fighting the Afghan Taliban.

“Guardians of our land and our dignity! #SanctionPakistan,” said Samim Arif, adviser to Afghan President Ghani, sharing an image of an Afghan soldier carrying a civilian to safety.

Edris Lutfi, a former adviser to the Afghan government, disagreed with what appeared to be the majority opinion, arguing that it was the Afghan leadership that should be punished.

“If you want to unite people? Give them a) a common leader ([President] Ghani failed due to his ethno-fascist agenda) or b) a common enemy (Pakistan) whom Ghani pursues,” he tweeted.

“However, the whole world played a part in bringing Afghanistan here, but the most important thing was the corruption and the ethnic agenda of the political elite, punish them first.”