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Google Shuts Down Email Accounts of Former Afghan Government as Taliban Look For Access: Reports

Kabul: As the Taliban is attempting to access the former officials’ emails, Google has temporarily locked down some Afghan government email accounts, Reuters reported. The search engine giant said it was “taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts,” but did not admit to a complete lockdown of the accounts.Also Read – What’s Happening in Panjshir? Here’s What We Know

“In consultation with experts, we are continuously assessing the situation in Afghanistan. We are taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts, as information continues to come in,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. Also Read – Breaking News LIVE Updates: India Reports 42,618 New Covid Cases, 330 Deaths in 24 Hours

Speaking to reporters, a person (on condition of anonymity) confirmed the outlet that the accounts were completely shut as the information could be used to track down former government officials the group would harm. Around two dozen officials, with some in the ministries of finance, industry, higher education and mines, used Google for official communications, according to Reuters, along with local governments and the office of the presidential protocol. Also Read – Day Before Govt Formation, Taliban Forces Capture Panjshir, Take Full Control of Afghanistan: Report

Talking to Reuters, an employee of the former government stated the Taliban had asked him in late July to save data on the ministry in which he was formerly employed for on servers the group could access. “If I do so, then they will get access to the data and official communications of the previous ministry leadership,” Reuters quoted the employee as saying, adding that he is now in hiding since he did not cooperate with the request.

Reurters reported that commandeering government databases and emails could provide information about employees of the former administration, ex-ministers, government contractors, tribal allies and foreign partners. “It would give a real wealth of information,” said Chad Anderson, a security researcher with internet intelligence firm DomainTools.

(With agency inputs)

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