The Taliban, on the ground and online.
As the Taliban consolidates control over Afghanistan it establishes check points and conducts house-to-house searches to find "collaborators" with the former regime, the Washington Post reports. According to NBC News Afghans are purging their social media accounts in an effort to remove all signs of connection with "Western nations, international human rights groups, the Afghan military or the recently collapsed Afghan government."
The Taliban has long operated with some effect online, and their influence operations are likely to continue, at least insofar as their intra-Islamist rivalry with ISIS permits. Some of their influence campaigns are readily foreseeable, if surprisingly well executed, like a mocking image of troops looking like US Marines hoisting a Taliban flag in nicely done mockery of the iconic flag raising on Iwo Jima. The Marines haven't commented, the Military Times observed. The Taliban fighters (said to belong to the Taliban's Badri 313 battalion) holding the staff are also well-turned out in obviously stolen military tactical kit, which itself makes a point. Military Times sees the image as emblematic of the design savvy of Taliban propaganda.
Last Saturday afternoon Fox News broke the story that the US State Department had come under cyberattack. State has, as is its policy, neither confirmed nor denied the report, but Reuters says that a "knowledgeable source" told them ("without confirming any incident") that "the State Department has not experienced significant disruptions and has not had its operations impeded in any way."
That data can be toxic, whatever government collects them, may be seen in the growing likelihood of Taliban exploitation of data seized from the wreckage of the former US-supported Afghan regime. POLITICO reports on the ongoing US effort to contain the damage.