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A glossy women’s magazine has hit virtual newsstands, its front cover splashed with the image of a woman, veiled from head to toe, walking off into a yellow-hued desert.
But, unlike other fashion or beauty publications, this one has a niche audience in mind: would-be female jihadists.
The English-language magazine — which debuted online but in a print-style format — was published by the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), earlier this month without much fanfare.
“The first thing I would think of with a piece of propaganda like this coming out is that they [the TTP] are trying to replicate efforts by Islamic State, particularly now that the caliphate is in decline,” Nikita Malik, a senior research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told CNN.
Malik, who has studied women and radicalization extensively, says that while the Taliban has used women before, the magazine signals a change in strategy. Despite the group’s historically violent subjugation of women — whom they have killed, barred from attending schools and forced into marriages — it seems they’re trying to attract a new audience.
“It is definitely an attempt, especially as it’s the first one, to reach out to a different audience, to reach out to different recruits,” Malik said, adding that it’s unusual for the TTP to actively seek out women to take up arms.
Read the full article at CNN