Masters of Afghanistan having outlived the US military in an unconventional war for nearly 20 years, the Taliban are also formidable adversaries online.
Shortly after regressive Islamic fundamentalists invaded Kabul in August, images emerged of Taliban fighters naively playing with gymnastic equipment and happily cruising on pedal boats – a public relations campaign, some observers guessed, intended to soften the air. image of the Taliban.
Maybe, but regarding Pepe the Frog and other edgelord memes later posted by a reputable Taliban member, there was no doubt that they intended to own the West online.
It seems that the Taliban have not finished trolling the decadent Western democracies. In this mission, they are happy to use our vices against us, including legalized marijuana.
Early Wednesday, Taliban Interior Ministry tweeted that a company called Cpharm had negotiated a deal with the regime to build a $ 450 million “hashish processing plant” in the country. The weed factory is said to make cannabis-based medicine, employ hundreds of people, and make the Taliban appear to be based.
A little over there, perhaps, but the report, picked up by the Afghan newspaper Pajhwok Afghan News, was only quite plausible. Consider: Cannabis production is rampant in Afghanistan – which also supplies a significant amount of opium poppy – and the Taliban are keen to generate income. And everyone in the world is trying to make money from marijuana.
That’s all it took. Respectable media outlets including The Times of London and Al Arabybia picked up on the story, reporting it as fact and identifying the Cpharm in question as an Australian company.
“The Taliban strike a first deal: sell cannabis to Australians,” the Times solemnly reported, adding that a Taliban “minister of narcotics” had already met a representative of Cpharm, and that “the project should be operational in a few days. “.
With this general public approval, it was off to the races. The reaction was outrage – how could Cpharm do that! Why are the Taliban kissing the weed when Congress and Joe Biden won’t! – to a bitter disappointment. Why would Cpharm work with Afghanistan when there is all this unsold weed in Canada ready to be exported!
But there is a problem. There is only one Cpharm in Australia, according to a Google search – and as the company said in a press release on Wednesday, they don’t “or supply” anything at all. They certainly don’t work with the Taliban.
“We have no connection with cannabis or the Taliban,” Cpharm said. “We have no idea where the Taliban press release came from.”
As Tony Gabites, chief financial officer of Cpharm, told Reuters, it is possible that the Taliban signed a deal, but with another Cpharm. The point is, there aren’t that many other Cpharms. There is a Cpharm in Haifa, Israel, and another in the Dominican Republic, but according to listings and according to an Instagram page, these are just typical pharmacies: like where you go to buy masks and aspirin. Not in the weed factory building business!
Notably, the original Taliban tweet does not identify Cpharm as an Australian company or anything. The case of mistaken identity was therefore a blunder of the Western media. As Gabites told VICE News, everyone – the Times, etc. – published articles naming the Australian company without contacting Cpharm first.
“It’s just too bad the media don’t check their facts,” Gabites told VICE. “No one contacted us to discuss it with us; you are the first person to do this from the media.
It is certainly possible that there is another Cpharm there, and that they have every intention of raising $ 450 million and spending it in Afghanistan, where the Taliban will have a cannabis plant.
But there are a host of factors that make this highly unlikely.
These range from practice (who would buy all that weed?) To politics. For example, trade sanctions prohibit Australians (as well as Americans!) From having any trade relations with the Taliban regime. It is possible that the Chinese or the Russians are funding a Taliban marijuana plant in Afghanistan, but these two countries are worse on the grass than Texas. Not likely.
The most plausible explanation that emerges is that the Taliban decided to celebrate Thanksgiving by having a little fun with the West. And if that was the intention, it worked. The mainstream media has eggs in its face to print fables, and a small Australian business has to waste time controlling the damage done to the media.
First the British, then the Soviets, then the United States and now in line. Afghanistan is undefeated.