The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Taliban shrug off NSA surveillance attempts

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Like the rest of the world, Taliban officials learned last week of the U.S. government's large-scale surveillance program on citizens and foreigners, which included access to a massive amount of information gathered from online communications.
Unlike many Americans, the Taliban was not surprised by the news.
"We knew about their past efforts to trace our system," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Washington Post. "We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far."
The U.S. military and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force haven't tried to hide their efforts to keep track of Taliban activity. Floating, blimp-like aerostats use cameras to keep an eye on all activity below. For years, U.S. soldiers and their Afghan counterparts have listened in to Taliban radio communications. The Taliban, knowing their conversations were tapped, would often attempt to mislead snooping Americans, discussing ambushes that never materialized.
Even the Taliban spokesman who spoke with The Post this week routinely changes his phone number to deter prying intelligence agents. "This news will have no impact on our activities," he said.
The Taliban, which maintains a website and an active presence on Twitter, is a frequent victim of hackers -- which insurgent officials have long assumed are working for the U.S. government. For them, the surveillance revelation only justified their anger at American meddling online.
"They have hacked our site and used a forged site as if it was ours," Mujahid said.
If the National Security Agency is trying to keep tabs on foreign individuals involved in terrorist activities, the Taliban leaders -- some of the world's most prominent al-Qaida sympathizers -- are obvious targets.
Some Afghan analysts also said they weren't surprised by the Taliban response. "I don't think it will disturb them," said Daud Sultanzoi, a political activist and former Afghan parliamentarian. "They're like the energizer bunny -- they keep going and going,"
Story tags » Afghanistan WarU.S. Military

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Postcard from camp
Postcard from camp: New conference, new field for the Eagles
Racing and preaching
Racing and preaching: Jeff Knight drives a racecar on Saturday, preaches on Sunday
No challenge too great
No challenge too great: Scholarship fund helps cancer survivor attend college
Generosity lives on
Generosity lives on: How Hazel Miller is still helping others years after her death