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Afghan Fury Follows Revelations of NSA Spying

Government of Afghanistan statement decries phone call monitoring as "a violation of the human rights guaranteed to all Afghans."

A woman talks on a cell phone on a street in Kabul. (Photo: Michael Foley/cc/flickr)

The Afghan government denounced on Sunday the revelations that the NSA is monitoring nearly all the phone calls in Afghanistan, saying it violates the nation's sovereignty and the human rights of its people.

The Intercept reported last week on new revelations of vast surveillance conducted by the United States in a series of countries but withheld the name of one of those target countries citing a "specific, credible concern that doing so could lead to violence." That country was subsequently revealed by WikiLeaks to be Afghanistan.

"These activities are an obvious violation of agreements based on technical use of these [telephone] stations," Agence France-Presse reports an Afghan government statement as saying. "Most importantly, it is a violation of the national sovereignty of Afghanistan, and a violation of the human rights guaranteed to all Afghans."

"These [telephone] stations are installed in Afghanistan by U.S. and Britain forces for the purpose of combating drug smuggling," the statement continues. "The National Security Adviser has been directed to raise these illegal activities and the anger of Afghan government with the U.S. and seriously investigate the issue."

Yet according to Graeme Smith, Senior Analyst for the NGO International Crisis Group, which works to prevent and resolve deadly conflict, the fact that such surveillance is happening is likely to be of no surprise to Afghans, telling Vice News' Patrick McGuire that "many Afghans imagine that the fictional Jack Bauer is a realistic depiction of U.S. intelligence at work."

Smith added, "There's a frenzy of concern about surveillance in the rich world at the moment, but over here the problems are more basic: rising violence, villagers fleeing their homes, Taliban choking off supply routes, the war economy grinding to a halt, etc."


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