Taliban mistakenly reveal their mailing list

Washington:  In an unusual gaffe, the Taliban mistakenly revealed their mailing list, which included email addresses of many top members of the militant outfit and journalists.

A Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email yesterday with a notable difference that he publicly copied the names of everyone on his mailing list instead of using the BCC function to keep the addresses hidden. The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson.

The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson, the ABC News reported.

Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.

"Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list," tweeted journalist Mustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers.

"Quite reassuring to my safety." The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.

The Taliban routinely sends out press releases to their mailing list, often claiming responsibility for attacks against Afghan and coalition targets. They are known for exaggerating casualty figures.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have increased the number of emails they send out, growing from just a handful every week, to several per day.

Most of the emails are sent from Ahmedi's account.

Story First Published: November 18, 2012 13:10 IST

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