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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 9:34 AM | 01-07-2014

Facebook caught in fierce Afghan poll battle

When Facebook arrived in Kabul, it quickly became an emblem for progress and freedom in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

But, as a bitter electoral dispute takes hold of the capital, both Afghan and foreign officials worry that social media is worsening Afghanistan's ethnic and political fault lines.

Already, Afghans on either side of the dispute have reverted to rhetoric reminiscent of the country's civil war in the 1990s. Ethnic Tajiks, supporters of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, have taken aim at Ashraf Ghani, his rival in the June 14 runoff election.

“We have two options: Death or the Presidential Palace,” some Abdullah supporters have posted on Facebook, suggesting violence to come if their candidate is not declared the winner.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology plans to block accounts “that are posting inflammatory issues, insulting people and posting against the national interest and national sovereignty,” said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the ministry. He said the government has contacted Facebook about the matter but did not explain how the accounts would be blocked.

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