The Government of the taliban will extend a surveillance camera network through the main cities of the country, a project in which China explores a participation and that has raised the activist alarm about the possibilities of a increased persecution and the oppression of women. “We are in the planning and development stage of the methodology to implement this mass surveillance system,” the spokesperson told EFE. Taliban Interior MinistryMufti Abdul Matin Qani.
According to the spokesperson, there are currently around 62,000 cameras in Kabul and other cities that are monitored from a central control room. A committee made up of security experts is “developing a methodology and allocating a budget to implement this mass surveillance system in the country,” added Qani, who assures that its implementation could take about four years. This large-scale system emulates a plan initially designed by the Americans before their withdrawal in 2021.
The Taliban already had initial talks with the Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei about a possible collaboration, said Qani who, however, clarified that internal companies are the first option. “We would prefer an internal company if they had the capacity to carry out this order on a large scale, and then we would turn to foreign companies,” the spokesperson explained. The contact with Huawei was a “simple conversation”, but they have not reached agreements or concrete plans, he assured.
Concern for human rights
The decision has raised concerns among human rights defenders about increased tension among the population and greater limitations on freedom of movement. “Implementing such a broad architecture of mass surveillance under the pretext of ‘national security’ sets a template for the Taliban to continue their draconian policies that violate the fundamental rights of people in Afghanistan, especially women in public spaces.” “said in a statement the Amnesty International researcher and advisor on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, Matt Mahmoudi. For her part, women’s rights activist Nahid Noori stressed to EFE that “the situation is already intolerable for Afghan women, and this system will further strain the freedom and free movement of the Afghan people, especially Afghan women.” .
“The surveillance system can target anti-Taliban civilian movements and will further enable the Taliban to implement their harsh and violating decisions on Afghan women,” he continued. The military and security affairs analyst Sarwar NiazaiHowever, he is optimistic about the implementation of a system like this which, as he told EFE, would be “important for reducing criminal activities in the country, and many countries have this system for security reasons.”