The Taliban “Ministry of the Interior” announced on Monday it had held meetings with senior executives from the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to discuss the potential of installing a high-end surveillance system in every province of Afghanistan – potentially granting the jihadist terror outfit unprecedented repressive capabilities.
Huawei is a Chinese company with close ties to the Communist Party often deployed to allied dictatorships offering to build advanced surveillance programs to help the governments in question suppress and persecute dissidents. In China, Huawei reportedly helped build facial recognition technology used to identify members of the Uyghur ethnicity, which the Communist Party is currently committing genocide against, in a crowd of people. Huawei has also been linked to internet control, surveillance, and other persecution systems in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, and other countries.
Such a system could potentially aid the Taliban, which marked the two-year anniversary of its return to power after leftist President Joe Biden extended the 20-year Afghan War beyond its agreed-upon deadline in 2021, in imposing its fundamentalist, violent interpretation of sharia, or the Islamic law. Taliban terrorists have used their power to prioritize the silencing of journalists, torture of suspect drug addicts, and, most prominently, the eradication of women from public life.
Dozens of women made a rare show of defiance against the brutal Taliban regime in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Wednesday, marching against the ban on beauty salons issued early this month by the extremist government. https://t.co/peWay29hY1
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 21, 2023
A Huawei camera system could help Taliban terrorists persecute women who dare leave the house alone or without wearing the mandatory hijab or overhear conversations critical of their rule, among other uses.
Huawei is active in the Afghan market selling mobile phones to the general public through the local partner Khalid Lemar. Its main general public service is manufacturing and selling phones, which multiple governments, including America, have banned on the grounds that they are used to spy on customers.
Taliban “Interior Ministry” spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani announced on Monday in a series of posts on Twitter that “Deputy Interior Minister” Abdullah Mukhtar had hosted representatives of Huawei in Kabul to discuss the company’s business with the Taliban regime.
“We plan to activate the advanced camera system in every province of Afghanistan,” Mukhtar reportedly said, according to the Afghan newspaper Etilaat Roz. The meeting focused on discussing the kind of surveillance system Huawei would build and how much the project would cost. The Huawei representatives reportedly said at the meeting that the company “was committed to working under Taliban rule.”
د کورنیو چارو وزارت د تامیناتي چارو معین الحاج مولوي عبدالله "مختار" د چین هیواد دHuawie ( هواوي) کمپنۍ له استازو سره وکتل.
په ناسته کې په تکنالوژۍ او یو شمېر نورو مهمو پروژو هر اړخیزې خبرې وشوې.۱/۳ pic.twitter.com/Kno5WkPMgR
— Mufti Abdul Mateen Qani- مفتي عبدالمتين قانع (@abdulmateenqani) August 14, 2023
Deputy Interior Minister, Mawlavi Abdullah Mukhtar met with the representatives of the Chinese @Huawei company.
Mr. Mukhtar in this meeting said that the advanced security cameras will be set up in every province of the country, according to the Interior Ministry. pic.twitter.com/ZW2Mv6qFtH
— BNA English (@bnaenglish) August 14, 2023
The Interior Ministry under Taliban rule is run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a senior member of the Haqqani Network, a terrorist outfit that links the Taliban to al-Qaeda. The Haqqanis, and Sirajuddin in particular, have been the only members of the Taliban leadership to publicly appear to question “Supreme Leader” Hibatullah Akhundzada. Akhundzada is believed to live in Kandahar, leaving the day-to-day governing to officials such as Haqqani, and rarely makes public appearances.
“Monopolizing power and hurting the reputation of the entire system are not to our benefit,” Sirajuddin Haqqani declared during a speech in February, suggesting leaders should prioritize “engagement with the people,” comments some interpreted as criticism of Akhundzada.
Haqqani has not made any moves that challenge Akhundzada’s power at press time, but wielding control of a pervasive, nationwide surveillance system may equip him to more easily do so.
Huawei has faced decades of accusations of seeking to do business with the Taliban. In December 2001, as America first began its invasion of Afghanistan, reports citing Indian intelligence officials claimed that Huawei was helping Taliban fighters by offering communication technology for the war. India reportedly placed the company on a watch list at the time for dealing with terrorists. The Indian government denied it was planning any hostile actions against Huawei, and Huawei vehemently denied any business with the Taliban.
“We have no links with the Taliban, nor did we provide any equipment for them. Our employees abroad always follow laws and regulations in that country during work,” a spokesman for the company said at the time.
Huawei has a long history of working with unsavory governments independent on the rulers of Afghanistan, however. In 2019, for example, the far-left New York Times revealed that hardline socialist former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa hired Huawei to build a nationwide surveillance system known as “ECU-911,” used to spy on potential dissidents. Correa ruled Ecuador from 2007 to 2018 and is currently a fugitive in Belgium as a result of criminal convictions related to various corruption charges stemming from activities during his presidency.
Neighboring Venezuela, openly governed as a socialist dictatorship, has longstanding surveillance ties to Huawei. Dictator Nicolás Maduro boasted his narco-regime would invest in the company in 2019. In Cuba, the colonialist power ruling Venezuela, Huawei and fellow Chinese company ZTE were implicated in helping the Castro regime shut down the internet during the historic July 11, 2021, anti-communist protests.
Huawei also has a significant footprint in Africa, helping the regimes of Uganda and Zambia spy on political dissidents. Huawei has also cut deals with the government of Kenya to sell similar technology.
The news of Huawei sitting down with the Taliban comes as the terrorists mark the second anniversary of their seizure of Kabul, which resulted in their uncontested return to power on August 15, 2021. Marking the date, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed a desire to be “good neighbors” with the Taliban and help it stabilize its stranglehold on power.
“As a Chinese saying goes, good neighbors wish each other well. Over the past two years, the Chinese people have cared for the livelihood, safety and future of the Afghan people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters during a regular briefing on Tuesday.
“We have provided large amounts of material aid in various forms through land, sea and air transportation, expanded the import of quality Afghan agricultural products such as pine nuts,” he continued, “granted zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of the tariff lines of Afghan products, steadily advanced practical cooperation between the two countries, and helped Afghanistan improve its capacity for self-driven development.”
Wang called the Taliban’s return to power “a historic achievement” that placed “the future of the nation … back in the hands of its people.” He also celebrated the Taliban for “recovering its economy, improving people’s livelihood, prohibiting narcotics, fighting corruption and safeguarding security.”
Two years ago, China’s state media called the Taliban’s conquest “a sunny day in Kabul.”