BARAMCHA, AFGHANISTAN—Shaking his head at all the new recruitment and indoctrination methods used by his younger counterparts nowadays, al-Qaeda member Khalid Al-Muthanna, 42, wistfully recalled to reporters Monday a time when radicalization was performed face-to-face rather than over the internet. “Back when I first got into jihad, we used to take the time to bring recruits to a real training camp and work with them one-on-one to instill a virulent fanaticism and bloodlust toward the West—now, it’s all done on message boards and chat rooms. Where’s the satisfaction in that?” said Al-Muthanna, sighing as he explained that he used to pride himself on spending weeks living in a community before carefully hand-selecting the most psychologically and financially troubled members to radicalize, rather than posting a blanket recruitment message on social media to just anyone. “It’s so rewarding to preach a hateful ideology directly to them and actually see the murderous rage grow in their eyes day by day. But with all these young extremists, it’s just Facebook this and Twitter that—everyone is glued to their computers. Nowadays, you don’t develop any real connection with your recruits before they go and blow themselves up. There’s just no human touch.” Al-Muthanna conceded that, despite all the drawbacks, he was glad that modern technology was allowing him and others to connect with so many people from all over the world.
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