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Is the Taliban a Victim of Email Hacking?

It seems that today no one is immune from hacking scandals – not even the Taliban.

The terrorist group claims that text messages and emails declaring the death of its top leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, were false. The group also claims that their telephone lines and website had been tampered with, according to The Associated Press.

Text messages and emails were sent from Zabiullah Mujahid’s account, a spokesperson for the Taliban, on Wednesday. The messages declared the death of "Amir ul-Momineen," or commander of the faithful, as Omar is known.

Mujahid has since denied authoring the messages and stated that Omar is alive and still directing Taliban activities in Afghanistan. He also denounced the actions of a “cunning enemy” who had committed “technical larceny,” according to The Los Angeles Times. The Taliban’s “IT team” opened an investigation into the matter and has threatened to take revenge on the phone companies.

"He is overseeing operations in the country," Mujahid told AP. "Outsiders must have hacked into Taliban phones and the website." Mujahid ridiculed U.S. intelligence agencies, saying they were trying "to demoralize the Taliban."

The Taliban is no stranger to technology and new media. It has long ago recognized how technology can help disseminate its message. The Taliban is on Twitter and Facebook as well as other social media sites.

Omar has been a well-known leader in the insurgency against U.S.-led military actions in the region; he also denounces the Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai. As leader of the Taliban, he ruled most of Afghanistan before the U.S. invaded on October 7, 2001.

In recent days, violence has increased in the country as the U.S. and NATO look to hand over security to the Afghan forces. It is planned that by 2014, foreign combat troops will be completely gone or in secondary support roles. Insurgents have taken this opportunity to spark more violence in an effort to convince the Afghan people that they cannot trust the Afghan military or police forces to protect them. This is in hopes that the people will turn back towards the Taliban.

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