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TALIBAN INSURGENTS BLOW UP CELL TOWERS
"Just one more problem for homeowners with cell phone towers near by to worry about!"
By Jane Celltower
Wired - (under Gadgets and Gear)
Noah Shachtman, February 25, 2008
Taliban insurgents threaten to blow up neighborhood cell towers, in order to cut relationship ties between the military and people, when Iraq locals call in too many tips to government forces and sources. Taking out telecom towers across Afghanistan if the cell phone companies do not switch off their signals for 10 hours starting at dusk, " according to the Associated Press. Zabiullah Mujaheed, a Taliban spokesman said the U.S. and other foreign troops in the country are using mobile cell phone signals to track down insurgents and launch attacks against them. The Taliban declaired to "give a three-day deadline to all mobile phone companies to stop their signals from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. in order to stop the target enemies from getting intelligence through mobile phones and to stop Taliban and civilian casualties," Mujahhed conveyed to the Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Former Royal Navy sailor Lew Page confirmed, "The mobile companies have long been thought by the Taliban to be colluding with NATO and Coalition forces operating in Afghanistan, and in fact it would be surprising if they weren't. The Afghan government is heavily dependent on the interantional troops. Use of the mobile networks for intelligence is an obvious step which is well-nigh certain to have been taken, just as governments have done in every county. And it's well known that masts can be used to locate a phone which is powered up. What's less clear is why the Taliban have chosen to demand a shutdown of mast signals at night.
"Even the most paranoid phone-security adivisers would normally suggest taking the battery out of one's phone, rather than menacing local cell operators unless they went off the air. (The idea of removing the battery is to guard against someone having modified the phone to switch itself on without the owner's knowledge.) It could be that the Taliban want to operate their own networks, of course. Micro/pico/femtocell equipment is widely available, and there's said to be a strong tradition in wild and woolly rural Afghanistan of unregulated, private wireless comms. It might be that guerrilla commanders merely want to clear other operators off the spectrum so that they can use it themselves."
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