Looking to get its message out in a bid to offset Taliban and al-Qaida propaganda and reach a wider audience without the "filter" of the news media, the U.S. military in Afghanistan has launched webpages on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Already, the USForces twitter page has been used by officials to announced the death of a U.S. soldier (from non-combat injuries) and to post such news as the killing of four militants by Afghan and coalition forces in Wardak Province. Col. Gregory Julian, public affairs officer for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, has a Twitter page of his own as well.
There's similar news at the USFOR Facebook page, along with reports about rebuilding projects and messages from friends and relatives of U.S. personnel serving in Afghanistan.
And then there's the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan YouTube page. It's new and hasn't gotten a lot of traffic yet. Among the handful of videos there, the most popular so far is Drug bust, Afghanistan-style, with about 150 views so far:
Julian tells the Associated Press that the military recognizes that "there's an entire audience segment that seeks its news from alternative means outside traditional news sources, and we want to make sure we're engaging them as well."