Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

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Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

The Navy Seal Team Six attacked Osama bin Laden’s secret hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011. After finding and killing the mastermind of the Twin Towers bombing, intelligence work began. Among them, “sweeping” the hard drive of his laptop: once they managed to crack the pirated backup that the Saudi had installed Kaspersky, they managed to see the particular tastes of the Taliban: video games, anime, movies and even emulators for retro games.

The news traveled the world in 2017, when the CIA released nearly half a million files recovered from its hard drive. There, rather than being able to analyze valuable information for the national security of the United States, the experts were surprised by the terrorist’s hobbies: they found games like the classic Super Mario Bros. from Nintendo or Final Fantasy VII from Playstation, tons of anime and children’s movies.

No internet to protect the secrecy of your location, Bin Laden somehow managed to install emulators – programs that run console games but on computers – and be able to play priceless classics from gaming history.

There were also movies that They range from Antz to Resident Evil.

Classic games on emulators

Final Fantasy VII: Playstation games popularized the use of piracy in Argentina in the mid-90s. Photo Squaresoft

Whether it was Bin Laden or whoever used his computer (it could have been his children), what is clear is that it was a connoisseur of emulators.

In computing, an emulator is a program that allows you to run programs or video games on a different platform than the one for which they were originally written. In fact, many times it is the only way to access old titles, since Getting retro consoles is not always affordable.

In general, to play in an emulator you have to load a file. When recording the progress of the games, an entry is generated “.sav”, Which was what was found on the computer.

These were some of the games that were found that, 5 years ago, went around the world.

Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

Super Mario Bros., one of the most iconic games in history. Photo Nintendo

  • Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo Entertainment System, 1983)
  • Yoshi’s Island DS (Nintendo DS, 2006)
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (Nintendo DS, 2005)
  • Metroid Prime Hunters (Nintendo DS, 2006)
  • Animal Crossing (Gamecube, 2001, physical copy)
  • Final Fantasy VII (Playstation. 1997)
  • Dragon Ball Z (Playstation, 1995)
  • Half-Life (PC, 1998)
  • Counter Strike (PC, 2000)
  • Army Men 2 (PC, 1999)
  • Sniper Elite (PC, 2005)

Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

Counter Strike, a classic from 2000: it was all the rage in cybers in Argentina and in the world. Photo Valve

His tastes also matched otaku, with many Naruto, Bleach, and Dragon Ball games listed, in addition to the full Devil May Cry anime series.

On the PC there were, of course, only anime and video games. There was also correspondence from Al-Qaeda, video files, propaganda, draft materials and even entries in Bin Laden’s personal diary.

The Taliban regime and the ban on technology: myth or reality?

Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

Osama Bin Laden died in 2011. AP Photo

Bin Laden was hiding with his family in a mansion, known as Waziristan Haveli, 3,500 square kilometers in the city north of Pakistan.

Bin Laden’s family, made up of three wives, six children and four grandchildren, lived without internet or telephone, so that their movements could not be traced, and they never left the house, which was heavily guarded.

So they spent their time watching movies and doing various activities, as reconstructed at that time by the Daily Mail from CIA documents.

The discussion about the use of technology by Islamic fundamentalism was rekindled this week, after seeing how after the seizure of power in Kabul the Taliban regime took photos with cell phones.

It happens that extremism always considered technology as a tool contrary to the moral of the “good Muslims” according to their own interpretation of the Qur’an.

Islamic Extremism and Technology: From Bin Laden’s Video Games to Selfies in the Kabul Takeover

The seizure of power caused migratory movements. Photo EFE

This, however, did not change overnight: since the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and after the US occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban regime withdrawn from power. began to understand that technological applications and the main programs used in the West were a powerful tool for propaganda, dissemination and organization.

To the point that the website they currently have is translated into five languages ​​and the militiamen can be seen with their cell phones and using social networks such as Twitter to issue statements.

Thus, everything indicates that the Koran’s interpretation of extremism has changed over time, according to the needs that the disputes for power seem to pose to the Taliban regime.

SL