Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones

Taliban Demands Downtime on Afghanistan Cellphone Networks 659

Posted by samzenpus
from the since-you-asked-nicely dept.
faster_manic writes "The Taliban has demanded that cellphone network providers in Afghanistan cease service between the hours of 5pm and 7am each night of the week, as they believe American troops are able to track down Taliban members using their cellphones."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Taliban Demands Downtime on Afghanistan Cellphone Networks

Comments Filter:
  • by tnoren (1246462) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:06AM (#22559040)
    Turning the cell phone off? Maybe Airplane mode?
    • by ack154 (591432) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:08AM (#22559094)
      I don't think they got that memo.
      • by rvw (755107) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:12AM (#22559174)

        I don't think they got that memo.
        Maybe you can put a demo on Youtube.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You should realize a few things ...

        1) all active cellphones can be located (and, with some systems, targeted) easily
        2) all cellphones, whether active or not, can be located (by sending out signals which will provoke a passive response from their antenna's), over a short range (but still a few miles, given enough power in the transmitter)

        So just turning it off, if you want to avoid being targeted, is not sufficient. Either wrap it in a (thin) faraday cage (which will itself be trackable from overhead if it's
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AsnFkr (545033)
          2) all cellphones, whether active or not, can be located (by sending out signals which will provoke a passive response from their antenna's), over a short range (but still a few miles, given enough power in the transmitter)

          Here's an honest question as you seem to know about this type of thing: With this type of technique would one be able to find the location a *specific* cell phone, or just find *a* cell phone? I can see how you could detect the existence of any cell phones in an area, but I'd be amaz
        • by bperkins (12056) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:56PM (#22561840) Homepage Journal
          article 29 of convention of Geneva, clause c:

          Also, apart from the baths and showers with which the camps shall be furnished prisoners of war shall be provided with sufficient water and soap for their personal toilet and for washing their personal laundry; the necessary installations, facilities and time shall be granted them for that purpose.

          ref: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/geneva03.htm#art29 [yale.edu]
          • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @05:01PM (#22564932) Journal
            Prisoners of war are uniformed combatant in the employ of a country engaged in a declared war, any civil treatment the enemy combatants and insurgents receive is an unearned. Honorable prisoners of war will except neither parole or pardon from his or her captors and will either escape to their freedom or remain incarcerated until the conclusion of hostilities. The Taliban is not known for honorable behavior.
          • by darkfire5252 (760516) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @06:42PM (#22566320)
            Yep, the GP really pulled that one from nowhere. However, this is actually there:

            ARTICLE 4
            A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
            ...
            (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
            ...
            (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
            ...
            I can't claim to be familiar enough with how the Taliban operates, but if they disguise themselves as citizens, conceal their firearms, or violate the customs of war then they do not fall under the title of "Prisoner of War" and are not protected by it.

            So, while wildly off on the citation, the GP is correct that a fighter who does not obey the Geneva convention (or any other customs of war) or does not openly display recognizable symbols or weaponry does not get protected by the Geneva convention.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mjwx (966435)
              Non uniformed partisans are covered under the same clause as spies (I don't know the specific clause). It's been this way since the first Geneva convention. Some nations chose (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia just to name few) to shoot insurgents or send them to prisons without the possibility of release upon capture. For civilised western nations it is considered law that captured combatants (uniformed or not) are sent home upon the cessation of hostilities (actual spies/infiltrators are executed).
        • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:02PM (#22561952)

          Of course for the Taliban, there really is only one recourse, give up.


          That's unlikely since in a guerilla war like this they could go on for a long time. They come from the largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns (42% of the population). The United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (or the Northern Alliance as the media prefers) is mostly made up of Tajiks (27% of the Population), Hazara and Uzbeks.

          This whole thing is broken down on ethnic grounds and NATO have chosen to back one ethnic group over the others. The United Islamic Front (UIF) are really no better than the Taliban if you look at the human rights reports.

          Either they will lose gradually, or they will cause massive casualties


          The UN recently reported that NATO and US forces had killed more civilians than the Taliban, mostly in air-strikes. There is a policy of sacrificing civilians in order to keep military casualties down. It's safer to bomb something than to send troops in. 10 dead Afghan civilians is more politically acceptable than 10 dead US soldiers. In the unlikely even of the media kicking up a real fuss about the civilian deaths, you can always just dredge up the tired old excuse that it's the enemy's fault for "hiding among the civilians".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Viol8 (599362)
          "2) all cellphones, whether active or not, can be located (by sending out signals which will provoke a passive response from their antenna's), over a short range (but still a few miles, given enough power in the transmitter)"

          Sorry , I don't buy that. To get a readable reflection off a mobile phone antenna you'd either have to have a very highly focused beam - effectively a radar system - or broadcast a megawatt power RF signal which would probably knock out just about every cellphone and numerous other devi
        • by orzetto (545509) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @04:05PM (#22563954)

          Of course for the taliban, there really is only one recourse, give up. Either they will lose gradually, or they will cause massive casualties, [...]

          What about dragging the war on until the US gets beaten, like in Vietnam? I would suppose that is their goal, and they are winning at that: attacks in the north are increasing, my country has soldiers in Herat and only in recent months they have started to come under fire.

          which will provoke a really big attack on the population of pakistan (did you know, in reality as opposite moonbat's mindsets, that in the geneva conventions civilians amongst whom non-uniformed enemy fighters are located, are fair game and can be killed. The decision whether or not terrorists are amongst them can (only) be made by a field commander, in short, every bomb short of a nuke would be perfectly legal to shoot into a mass of afghan civilians), and the commander giving that order would go completely free under international law.

          Aside from the fact that you are suggesting practices typical of the SS divisions (I don't care about Goodwin: they were the last ones in the West to do anything like that, it's the only example available), the Geneva conventions is only about war prisoners, and makes no mention of civilians only because of that. That a US commander would walk out freely I have no doubt, they are pretty much untouchable no matter what crimes they may commit; what is sure is that, no matter what, any attack directed against civilians is a war crime [wikipedia.org] . Surely, Nazi officers who practiced retaliation on civilians were jailed for decades when they could be tried in the countries where they committed their atrocities.

          Only civilian prisoners and UNIFORMED enemy prisoners cannot be killed.

          Such utter disrespect of the life of a person who is not a threat is really appalling. Of course, other than being brainwashed by war-time propaganda, you are also wrong: the Geneva convention, article four [yale.edu], states very clearly:

          Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

          1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
          2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:
            1. that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
            2. that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
            3. that of carrying arms openly;
            4. that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
          3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
          4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.
          5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit
          • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @04:34PM (#22564446)
            The SS were not the last ones in the West to target civilians. The Russians, the US and the UK all did it before and after D-Day. This is an extremely difficult ethical question, and before some kneejerk moderates this flamebait, please read on.

            Max Hastings, the military historian, has written in his remarkably fair and balanced book Armageddon about the British policy of carpet bombing civilians, and how it probably lengthened the war (because it diverted resources from protecting shipping in the Atlantic, and because strategic attacks on oil plants could have caused the German army to come to a stop much sooner. He describes revenge attacks by many Allied groups. Apart from Bomber Harris, the Allied commanders were in general much more careful than the Russians, and this reduced casualties in the West. In the east, knowing what the Russians would do, the Germans fought with more desperation.

            Hastings points out, very fairly, that Japan suffered far less than Germany because the result of the A-bomb attacks was surrender without invasion. Therefore, paradoxically, the A-Bomb may well have reduced the death rate in the Far East very considerably.

            This shows how ethically difficult the whole thing is in the context of all out war.

            It is also very difficult nowadays to define who is a civilian. Is a worker in an oil production plant a civilian when a tanker driver is a soldier? They are part of the supply chain, and the oil plant could well be a legitimate military target. In a country where the majority of men carry guns, how do you tell a civilian from a soldier?

            I am not in favor of indiscriminate war, believe me. Thanks to my father and my uncle and their friends, my only experience of the military has been as an R&D engineer. But I do think we often expect the military to solve ethical problems that philosophers give up on, and that when it comes to people who want to run a country so they can torture and abuse women versus people who, basically, don't, I think we need to be very careful before sounding off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I had the same thought.

      Maybe they're thinking that people who regularly turn off their phones at night (and why at night?) will be obvious Taliban sympathizers and hunted down during the day? Beats me.
      • by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:31AM (#22559566) Journal
        Well, when you see concentrated movements at night and it isn't going to a pub, you pretty much know that you should at least check into it when your in a war zone.

        The interesting thing here is that we are seeing two things that we haven't really saw before. One and probably the most significant, is that taliban tactics are being traded and treated like open information like the US government's terrorist spy program. This tells me that people aren't as afraid of the taliban as they used to be. The other is that we are hitting them so hard that they are scrambling for a way to mitigate it. If it was something they weren't worried about, they would simply say leave them off. But for some reason, they are desperate enough to ask for help in turning the towers off because they think it is how we are finding them.

        Either way, I like it.
        • by ArcherB (796902) * on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:59AM (#22560030) Journal

          But for some reason, they are desperate enough to ask for help in turning the towers off because they think it is how we are finding them.
          All they need to do is call a phone in the US. Then the Gov't can't track them without a warrant.

        • by sayfawa (1099071) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @12:34PM (#22560624)
          The interesting thing here is that we are seeing two things that we haven't really saw before. One and probably the most significant, is that taliban tactics are being traded and treated like open information like the US government's terrorist spy program. This tells me that people aren't as afraid of the taliban as they used to be. The other is that we are hitting them so hard that they are scrambling for a way to mitigate it.

          It tells me quite the opposite. It tells me that the Taliban is back to being powerful enough to make demands of companies and think it has a chance of being listened to. Over 6 years after they were almost bombed out of existence they are now almost back to running some things.
          • agreed (Score:5, Informative)

            by filthpickle (1199927) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:04PM (#22561026)
            You might want to do a little reading about the current state of things. Saw an excellent interview with Sarah Chayes on PBS over the weekend. I can't remember what show it was on. She is an American that lives in Afghanistan now, her story is pretty cool http://chayes.blogs.nytimes.com/ [nytimes.com]

            The best quote from her was along the lines of 'They have paved the roads in Kanahar, which is great, but if you drive on them you'll be shaken down by the government in the day and the taliban at night.' She said that before the taliban fell that she could drive into Kandahar (when the roads were dirt), but wouldn't dream of doing it now (she was making a point, not saying that they should come back).

            She is on the ground there living as a citizen and doesn't think that the taliban is going anywhere anytime soon. Her opinion of the government is that we have replaced the taliban with criminals.
        • by CKW (409971) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:20PM (#22561236) Journal
          I figured it out.

          The problem the Taliban have isn't that their own cellphones are emitting at night. I'm damn sure they're careful with cellphone use.

          The problem is when NATO electronically sees a whole village *leave* their village at 2am.

          Hmmm, I wonder what town the Taliban just rolled into?
          • Informants! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by gnuman99 (746007) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:33PM (#22562514)
            The issue is not some super high-tech gadgets. It is basic intelligence. It is the informants! The informants in the Afghan population are reporting Taliban movements to their local police or military units. That's it. When you turn off the cell towers, then Taliban can move much more freely as no one will be reporting them.

            Taliban is not supported by majority, or even a sizable minority in Afghanistan. People are tired of war. Hell, 25+ years of it in one way or another.

            Furthermore, do you think the women like Taliban? Even if only 1 in 100 women is brave enough to report Taliban movements, that's 1 in 200 people. And I would guess that most med do not want their women bound to their houses either (hey, men don't like the extra work ;).

            Kabul is now thriving compared to when Taliban were in power. Kandahar is even much better off now. People see the change. There are more informants every day. And cellphones are what is enabling them to provide the military/police with intelligence they would never be able to gather alone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by budgenator (254554)
          But for some reason, they are desperate enough to ask for help in turning the towers off because they think it is how we are finding them.
          There is nothing so troubling as talking to a loved one on the cellphone and hearing artillery incoming and a short "gotta go click" then nothing for 2 weeks. I'm sure that the NSA has a pretty good idea where the action is over there and when somebody is getting their asses waxed and calls for help or to say goodbye, they are really interested in who is getting called an
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Maybe they're thinking that people who regularly turn off their phones at night (and why at night?)"

        Yeah, that's stupid...that's when the "Free Nights and Weekends" minutes kick in....

        :-)

    • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:29AM (#22559506) Homepage
      You need to understand and appreciate the mentality that doesn't seem to be exclusive to muslim extremists.

      The mentality I speak of is "The entire world around me should be adjusted to fit my way of thinking or doing things."

      If you happen to live in an area where "blue laws" exist, you'll know what I'm talking about. In my area, you cannot buy beer on Sunday before 12:00 noon, so if you forgot to buy beer before the game starts the previous day, you're SOL thanks to these religiously sponsored legislative actions. Such laws do not serve the community -- they serve to create a society that better aligns itself with religious interests.

      In this case, it would make more sense that Taliban people should have to turn their phones off to avoid being tracked... but it's too inconvenient for them to change the way they do things. So instead, they want to make things inconvenient for EVERYONE to better suit their individual needs.

      This just goes to show what is truly broken about their minds. They are far too self-interested to really be concerned about anything resembling "greater good." And I'll say it once again -- this is not the exclusive territory of muslim extremists. It's not even the exclusive territory of religious extremists though it does seem to be something of a hallmark of them. It's a problem of the self-interested mind.

      So every time you see someone trying to get new law written to protect their children when they should be doing it themselves, this is a sign that they have the same mental weakness that requires the rest of the world compensate for their stupidity.
      • by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdot AT sbyrne DOT org> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:34AM (#22559628) Homepage Journal
        Damn religious zealots. When I forget to pick up my wine for communion on Saturday, I'm SOL the next morning.
      • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:42AM (#22559750)
        You mentioned blue laws.. HAHA.. Here in Oregon, you cannot buy Liquor anywhere but at a state owned liquor store. The state owns the store, then leases it out to a private individual to run. You can buy beer and wine at grocery stores, but not between 1am and 9am. (which sucks when you try to go to the 24 hour supermarkets at 5am to avoid the crowds). All liquor stores close at 7pm, 8pm on friday and saturday nights, and they are closed on Sundays. The state sets the prices of the liquor, because they get a percentage of the prices in taxes. I'm 20 minutes from California border, and can get a fifth of Rum for about $9 from a grocery store down there, but have to pay about $16 for the same bottle in Oregon. Fortunately, a huge wholesaler, Costco is challenging the constitutionality of those laws in Oregon and Washington (which has similar laws) because they make so much money off of liquor in CA.
        I spent a few weeks in WI this summer, and was completely blown away by their state fair. Every food booth there sold beer along with food. (I imagine it had something to do with WI being the brewery state!). In Oregon, you have to have a fenced off area, with guards manning the entrance, ID'ing everyone that wants to walk in. My cousin couldn't enter the beer garden, because her 1 year old son was with her in a stroller, and they wouldn't let her in, she might give alcohol to a minor! Nice to know that Oregon is there to Protect you from yourself!
        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:51AM (#22559914) Journal

          Fortunately, a huge wholesaler, Costco is challenging the constitutionality of those laws in Oregon and Washington (which has similar laws) because they make so much money off of liquor in CA

          They will lose. Let me save them the trouble:

          The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited

          In broad terms the 21st Amendment allows the states to do whatever the hell they want with liquor sales. That was the price of repealing prohibition -- the states gained full control to do virtually whatever they want within their own borders. There's nothing preventing a state from adopting statewide prohibition tomorrow if it desired to do so -- well, nothing except the voting public :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          "You mentioned blue laws.. HAHA.. Here in Oregon, you cannot buy Liquor anywhere but at a state owned liquor store. The state owns the store, then leases it out to a private individual to run. You can buy beer and wine at grocery stores, but not between 1am and 9am. (which sucks when you try to go to the 24 hour supermarkets at 5am to avoid the crowds). All liquor stores close at 7pm, 8pm on friday and saturday nights, and they are closed on Sundays. The state sets the prices of the liquor, because they get
      • by jesterpilot (906386) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:45AM (#22559810) Homepage
        Seriously, i don't think they are as smart as you presume. They use the cell phones in combat to communicate. I'm afraid they want the networks shut down so they can call each other without being tracked. They're muslim terrorists you know, the type of guys who tried to sink a navy vessel but failed because they overloaded their boat [wikipedia.org].
      • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:50AM (#22559902)
        I think George Bernard Shaw said it best:

        "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.".

        It's probably not politically correct to point out that in this case, "progress" would mean "towards a Taliban-controlled state which is about half a millennium behind the rest of the world".
      • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:54AM (#22559958) Journal
        ...if you forgot to buy beer before the game starts the previous day, you're SOL thanks to these religiously sponsored legislative actions.

        That's something I can't understand, except that people are too lazy to read their own bibles and fall prey to the wolves in sheep's clothing.

        There is nothing whatever in the Christian Bible that says drinking is a sin. Ok there is a passage in the old testament that says kings shouldn't drink, and one in the new testament that says we should soberly wait for the second coming - but it also says "give strong drink to the dying and wine to those with the blues." It also chronicles the fact that on Jesus' last night on earth, all the apostles were shitfaced drunk.

        These peole aren't reading Christ's bible, they're reading Pat Robertson's bible. Jesus had quite a few things to say about people like Robertson and his four thousand dollar suits...

        -mcgrew
        • by iso-cop (555637) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:24PM (#22561274)
          Hmm...you might be in the right zip code there but do not forget Ephesians 5:18, 1 Peter 4, 1 Thessalonians 5, Galatians 5:19-21, and such. The Bible does not advocate drunkenness and excess.

          Where you quote Proverbs, you are seeing the contrast between a person of leadership who restrains themselves from drunkenness and those dying and in anguish who indulge. It also follows up by saying that the one in leadership should speak up for the one who is destitute to help pull them out of that miserable situation.

          I am not sure where we find the apostles drunk. I would appreciate if you can clarify. They were celebrating Passover, which does involve wine but I do not find them drunk in the scriptures.

          All that said, I am not sure that sales blackout periods or state ownership of alcohol distribution address the core issue.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arth1 (260657)

        In this case, it would make more sense that Taliban people should have to turn their phones off to avoid being tracked... but it's too inconvenient for them to change the way they do things.

        It's not that easy. Then turning off your cell phone at night becomes reason for the occupation forces intelligence to investigate, making it easier to narrow down just who to track down.
        The request to the cell phone companies would then change from "We are the Taliban, and we want the cell phone service off at night" t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by budgenator (254554)
          They just don't want the common Afghan civilians to call the authorities and report their movements, it's not about the towers tracking the cellphones of the Taliban.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by neersign (956437)
        I'll play devil's advocate- US Army Joe: Hey, Abdul turns his cell phone off every night at 5pm and turns it back on at 7am. US Army Joe 2: Achmed does the same thing. We know Achmed is a terrorist, Abdul must be too. -doesn't seem so stupid now.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by earthforce_1 (454968)
        > The mentality I speak of is "The entire world around me should be adjusted to fit my way of thinking or doing things."

        It also seems to be a common mentality with certain industry cartels and corporations - The RIAA/MPAA, and Microsoft for example...
         
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dmala (752610)
        If you happen to live in an area where "blue laws" exist, you'll know what I'm talking about. In my area, you cannot buy beer on Sunday before 12:00 noon, so if you forgot to buy beer before the game starts the previous day, you're SOL thanks to these religiously sponsored legislative actions. Such laws do not serve the community -- they serve to create a society that better aligns itself with religious interests.

        Strangely enough, at least in MA, this really wasn't the case. When the laws were enacted
      • Back atcha (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kahei (466208)

        So, you live in an area most of whose people have decided that beer shouldn't be sold before noon on Sunday. But that doesn't suit you. You'd prefer it to be changed -- you want the world around you adjusted to fit your way of thinking. Tough luck.

        Those laws *do* serve the community. Whether they make sense I don't know, but the community opted for them. Whether the community are happier this way or not, whether they know what they're doing or not I don't know, but they picked what to do, and if that d
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Solandri (704621)

        The mentality I speak of is "The entire world around me should be adjusted to fit my way of thinking or doing things."

        If you happen to live in an area where "blue laws" exist, you'll know what I'm talking about. In my area, you cannot buy beer on Sunday before 12:00 noon, so if you forgot to buy beer before the game starts the previous day, you're SOL thanks to these religiously sponsored legislative actions. Such laws do not serve the community -- they serve to create a society that better aligns itself

    • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @12:02PM (#22560084) Homepage
      Isn't it as easy as turning the cell phone off? Maybe Airplane mode?

      No, it is not that easy, they have a "legitimate" complaint from their perspective. The "problem" is *not* their people and their cell phones. The "problem" is that ordinary citizen are reporting suspicious nighttime activities. Their are essentially trying to turn off the tips hotline.
  • obvious answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sl0ppy (454532) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:07AM (#22559054)
    afraid of being tracked? don't carry your cellphone.

    it's much easier to make a personal change than to have a whole infrastructure shut down.
    • Re:obvious answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Manhigh (148034) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:09AM (#22559100)
      They seem to have a history of preferring others to change rather than change themselves.
      • Re:obvious answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CSMatt (1175471) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:36AM (#22559664)
        So does this mean that we can call the "think of the children" groups terrorists now?
    • by mjpaci (33725) * on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:26AM (#22559460) Homepage Journal
      From the article:

      The reason for the threat is the Taliban's belief that American soldiers and rebels within Afghanistan are using mobile phones to track down remaining Taliban members. "Since the occupying forces stationed in Afghanistan usually at night use mobile phones for espionage to track down the mujahideen, the Islamic Emirate gave a three-day ultimatum to all mobile phone firms to switch off their phones from five in the afternoon until seven in the morning," Taliban spokesperson Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters, ironically via mobile phone (and presumably during daylight).
      They're trying to disrupt the Americans' use of cell phones as a communication network for gathering information. i.e. informants all over the country phone in the whereabouts of Taliban baddies.
  • DIAL MYCROFTXXX... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phil-14 (1277) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:08AM (#22559074)
    It occurs to me that in a country like Afghanistan, which like most developing countries these days has better cell infrastructure than landline infrastructure, cellphones may be the _only_ way of calling the local police to say the Taliban are attacking you.
    • by edward2020 (985450) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:20AM (#22559342)
      lol, the local police. Pres. Karzai is more like the mayor of Kabul. In a country like that which totally lacks any rule of law, I wouldn't doubt that the police (if there are any outside the capital) may be just as bad as the warlords or the Taliban.
    • and also that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:36AM (#22559650) Homepage Journal
      anything that is landline based is usually blown to smithereens in the prolonged effort to keep the people of afghanistan in the middle ages, where the ideology of the taliban actually works
  • by Ynsats (922697) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:08AM (#22559086)
    This news story essentially amounts to the Taliban crying "C'mon guys! Play fair!"

    Don't get me wrong, the news story is quite legit, it just sounds like the kids playing cowboys and indians in the playground.
  • by brennanw (5761) * on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:09AM (#22559112) Homepage Journal
    Next, they'll get the phone companies to give them the phone records of all Afghani citizens who may be saying mean things about the Taliban. That's when we'll know the Taliban are on their way to becoming a full-fledged modern democracy like us.
  • Good Luck (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bullfish (858648) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:10AM (#22559132)
    Cell phone companies don't pay any heed to anyone. I suspect this ridiculous plea will get the same attention as someone wanting a fairer contract.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by PontifexMaximus (181529) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:11AM (#22559144)
    Okay, I MUST be missing something. They want cell phone providers to cease service between 7pm and 5am because the Americans can track them when they are using their cell phones? WTF? If they can do it between those hours, don't you FREAKING THINK THEY CAN OUTSIDE THOSE HOURS? Idiots. Well that just proves right there those dillholes don't know shit about technology. There's nothing better than a group who wants to keep their people in the Dark Ages.

    Oh, hello, Congress. I didn't see you standing there. I was talking about the Taliban, not you. You guys are doing one hell of a bang up job in DC. Honest.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:13AM (#22559206)
      No, the tracking technology only works at night... because most of the attacks are at night. The fact that US troops are probably using their night vision equipment to gain an advantage over them at night has NOTHING to do with it.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by shiftless (410350) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:49PM (#22561716) Homepage
        I know you were being funny, but I thought I should add this. It's not like the ISAF would have no idea when attacks are coming without citizens phoning in tips. Last year I spent some quality time at a forward base that would be attacked very frequently, as often as every day, usually no less than every 2-3 days. These guys knew when attacks were coming cause half the time the Taliban forces and their buddies (Uzbeks, Czechs, etc) would come over the radio and SAY SO. Not only do they use unencrypted radio to communicate with each other during attacks, but they like to get on the air and talk to our translators. The translators and the Taliban swap taunts and brag to each other and it's actually quite funny.

        Oh, and another clue when there's about to be an attack: all the locals close up shop and head home at 2 PM, or whatever. Or you see a village that looks like a ghost town when normally at that time of day/night it would be pretty busy. You know there is an attack coming because the Taliban has warned the populace.
  • by Zygote-IC- (512412) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:11AM (#22559150) Homepage
    Come on feds, spend the extra little bit of money and track these guys using something other than your unlimited "Nights and Weekends."
  • by hilather (1079603) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:12AM (#22559166)
    Since the invasion, residents of Afghanistan have been recieving an increasingly alarming amount of American telemarketing calls.
  • by bannerman (60282) <bannerman@rocketmail.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:17AM (#22559300)
    Their goal is obviously to disrupt communications, not to avoid being tracked. If they knew we were using their phones to track them, they could use that as an advantage to setup traps and make us confident of their whereabouts. They could always just remove the batteries or stuff the phone in a lead box or whatever. If you can't call for help it makes the decision to resist or just do whatever these psychopaths want a much simpler one.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:23AM (#22559390)

    they believe American troops are able to track down Taliban members using their cellphones.

    Too bad it'll make all their cell phones transmit MORE, looking for said shut down towers- when a cell can't reach a tower, not only does it try to reconnect more often, but it also bumps up the transmit power.

    That makes the cell phone a whole lot easier to find...and kills everyone's batteries...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brian0918 (638904)
      Except you need to read the article to realize that the actual situation has no relation to your analysis. They are not using cell phones. The people phoning in tips have the cell phones, and the Taliban doesn't want them phoning in tips while they're doing their raids.

      *POOF* (your insight, disappearing in a puff of smoke)
  • by John3 (85454) <{john3} {at} {cornells.com}> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:24AM (#22559414) Homepage Journal
    Next thing you know the Taliban will demand immunity from lawsuits arising from damage or injuries caused by the cell service being shut down.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:30AM (#22559520)
    Just slap one of these http://www.gethandyswitch.com/ [gethandyswitch.com] to each tower's fence, and let them knock themselves out.

  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @11:39AM (#22559702) Homepage
    Wow, i had no idea that terrorists and religious fundamentalists also worked normal business hours.....

    "Tomorrow at 8:00pm, you will drive an explosives laden truck into the American barracks."

    "Hold on, Muhammed. My position as a level 1 suicide bomber clearly states that this is a non-exempt position, and my scheduled hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm complete with two fifteen minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. I can't be forced to work any overtime. Look, we can take this all the way to Vicki in HR, but I'd really rather not.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

Working...