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    U.S. Forces — Afghanistan Announces Social Networking Initiative



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Forces Afghanistan

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The command overseeing U.S. operations in Afghanistan announced June 1 the official launch of its social networking strategy with pages on three online sites, marking the first-ever effort by the military in Afghanistan to engage non-traditional audiences directly with news, videos, pictures and other information from Operation Enduring Freedom.

    In the two weeks since beta testing began, social networking has become a major focus of U.S. Forces — Afghanistan's communication efforts -- rapidly delivering an unfiltered view of the war from troops on the ground, and opening a two-way dialogue with people around the world interested in the Afghanistan mission.

    Since beta testing began on May 12, the USFOR-A Facebook page has drawn more than 4,700 fans, and more than 1,400 people and organizations have signed up to follow its "tweets" on Twitter. There was no active marketing of either site during the beta testing period.

    Individuals and organizations that become Facebook fans or sign up to follow USFOR-A tweets will receive a firsthand look at reports, videos and images from troops on the ground, including products that are not available in the mainstream media, including exclusive video from Afghan Commando and Special Forces operations.

    Video of a four-day operation last week to disrupt drug production and smuggling by insurgents was first featured on the command's Facebook and YouTube sites. The operation led to the deaths of 64 militants and netted more than 100 tons of narcotics — the biggest bust in more than seven years of war in Afghanistan.

    Posting of the drug bust video, which included footage from plane-mounted gun cameras, night vision video and helicopter barrages of insurgent positions, appeared on the USFOR-A Facebook and YouTube pages before being made available to the mainstream media.

    Importantly for the war effort, the pages have quickened the pace at which commanders can get information to the public, allowing them to preempt extremist propaganda. The Taliban regularly make false claims of military victories to the Afghan press, which more often quotes insurgent groups than western spokespeople.

    While U.S. Forces—Afghanistan's online social networking activities aren't focused on countering insurgent claims in the Afghan press, public affairs personnel hope the sites help strip militants of their attempt to influence the international press.



    Date Taken: 06.02.2009
    Date Posted: 06.02.2009 01:48
    Story ID: 34401
    Location: KABUL, AF 

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