OPEN: Afghanistan, Taliban and CyberSecurity

Afghanistan is breaking-up. The Taliban forces have entered Afghanistan, and the population of Afghanistan is forced to think about their next steps. Will they stay, or will they leave?

There have been numerous reports on people that are leaving Afghanistan. This is often for personal safety, keeping this in the back of our mind, we must understand, that a lot of ‘information’ posts are left unattended.

MI-35 choppers captured by the Taliban

The Taliban, already, acquired military vehicles that were left behind by foreign troops. In June, 2021, FORBES reported that already 700 trucks have been captured by the Taliban.

Afghan troops surrender to the Taliban. Allowing the Taliban to take control of the vehicles and more.

The United States embassy in Afghanistan has been closed. The US ordered a complete evacuation of the embassy. The Dutch, have relocated their embassy to the airport in Kabul.

Embassy of Netherlands unreachable via old contacts

It strikes me that, by moving the embassy, the old phone numbers AND email addresses are not working anymore. Does this mean that the IT infrastructure in the embassy has been taken down? or are there other reasons?

IT in Afghanistan

The various companies that operate in Afghanistan, and all foreign parties that have their IT there, must be facing an additional challenge on their (cyber)security. The threat is not digital alone, the threat is physical. The Taliban (if wanted), can enter any building, and “seize” the IT. Seizing the IT allows them to have a clear view on what type of information is shared, and to who it is shared, it also allows them to abuse or manipulate this information. Al Jazeera, already reported on how employees of Defense contractors are currently stuck in Dubai.

According to Al Jazeera, On July 5, Taliban fighters blew up fibre optic devices and system equipment in Herat province’s Islam Qala, a border city with Iran and an important trading port. Islam Qala is also a migrant crossing where a number of international NGOs operate, working with thousands of deported refugees daily.

“In the last six months, 39 electricity pylons that bring imported power into Afghanistan have been damaged,” Sangar Niazi, the spokesman of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s national power supplier, told Al Jazeera.

How to deal with this threat?

The Afghans are facing a serious threat, how will they continue, how will they uphold (cyber) security, and how will they protect data, IP, networks against the Taliban? Is that something that can be achieved?

Will Afghanistan become a facilitator in ‘cyber attacks’ against the west?

All for now. Please let me know what you think. The comment section is open for this.

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