Taliban Fighters With US Weapons and American Gear Pose for Iwo Jima Flag Raising-Style Photoshoot

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While the Sunni extremist group banned television, radio and newspapers during its original reign over Afghanistan in the 1990s, it has proven extremely adept at using social media to spread its message, and propaganda, in its more recent campaign against the US and its Kabul government allies.

The Taliban* has released a bizarre photo that seems explicitly intended to mock America.

The image, released by the militants’ elite Badri 313 Battalion, shows fighters in US-made gear planting the white and black flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the self-proclaimed Taliban government), with their pose reminiscent of the iconic World War II-era photo of US soldiers raising an American flag at Iwo Jima.

The Iwo Jima photo is highly revered among Americans, and has been replicated in the Marine Corps War memorial in Arlington, Virginia. It won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Photography, and has been memorialized in films, songs, coins, stamps, statutes and other media over the decades, serving as a reminder of the bloody US island-hopping campaign against Japanese forces in the Pacific theater.

The Taliban deployed the Badri 313 Battalion in Kabul this week after entering the Afghan capital on Sunday. Militants have released a propaganda video featuring the fighters dramatically running in slow motion to music and patrolling the streets, armed with US-made M4 rifles, riding around in machinegun turret equipped…

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