The Taliban released on app on the Google Play Store on April 1, but it didn't remain available for long. Google removed it shortly after its launch for violating its app policy.
Called Alemarah, the app included official statements and videos from the Afghanistan Islamist fundamentalist group in the Pashto language in what appeared to be a campaign to further spread its message.
Alemarah is also the name of a Taliban propaganda network. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told Bloomberg that Alemarah was "part of our advanced technological efforts to make [a] more global audience."
The app was quickly removed from Google's Play Store on April 2 for what the Taliban said were "technical issues." But it was actually Google who pulled Alemarah from appearing in its Play Store.
So what is the real reason behind the ban? Google hasn't given a specific reason, but confirmed that it does make sure to remove apps that violate its policies.
"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," the company said in a statement.
Google Play's developer policy page states that it does not allow apps that "depict or facilitate gratuitous violence." Among the forms of violence it won't tolerate include depictions or descriptions of graphic violence to people, terrorist groups that use the app to document their barracks and instructions for bomb or weapon making.
The Taliban's app also could have featured hate speech, which is another thing Google will not tolerate.
"We don't allow apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity," the policy page reads.
The Taliban has in the past attempted to spread its message online via social media accounts and websites that are often pulled. The group does post news and its messages on its Facebook and Twitter pages. Its main website is now featured in five different languages including English.
Releasing an app could be an attempt to further complete with ISIS, which is known to be present on the Internet, and commonly uses social media to spread its cause.
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