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Wed 27 Feb 2008 10:26 AM

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Taliban demands Afghan mobile telecom companies shut down towers

Ultimatum issued due to fear of US military tracking Taliban via their phones

Taliban spokespeople in Afghanistan have demanded mobile telecom companies shut down their boaster towers in Taliban-controlled regions during the hours of 5pm to 3am, adding a deadline of February 27th for their compliance.

The Taliban believe they are being targeted by US and Afghan soldiers at night, who locate them via their mobile phones.

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujaheed said they have issued the deadline in order to “stop the enemies getting intelligence through mobile phones and to stop Taliban and civilian casualties.”

Of the four telecom companies present in the region, none have complied with the demand or commented on the incident. Telecom companies have been threatened by Taliban militias and accused of collusion with foreign powers in the past.

“If those companies do not stop their signal within three days, the Taliban will target their towers and their offices,” Mujaheed said.

Experts believe US forces possess satellites and other devices capable of locating mobile phone signals, independent of local phone companies. However, a phone once switched off is untraceable.

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