Osama bin Laden has been a bugbear for American officials in Pakistan since long before the 9/11 attacks. In 1999 the Islamabad embassy noted that Bin Laden posters were hitting the streets for just 30 cents – “a bit more than the cost of a sidewalk haircut”.
The posters, officials wrote despairingly, were proving more popular than the US government’s “wanted” posters, which risked proving counter-productive. New wanted posters and matchboxes “may increase [Bin Laden]’s stature as a kind of folk hero”, they said.
Even the Taliban, “in sharp contrast with their ordinary execrable public relations performance”, was doing better than the US, the message continued. “We face a formidable foe among those churning out pro-Osama propaganda.”
The message urged Washington to consider a new raft of anti-Bin Laden propaganda through the Voice of America radio station, interviews with Bin Laden victims, “commissioned articles” in the local press and an anti-Bin Laden website.
“Although that would appear to be counterintuitive – that the masses don’t use the internet – almost all Islamic and Islamist groups do indeed have internet access and use it extensively.”
Via Guardian website.