MTN accused of violating US Anti-Terrorism Act by supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan

 

MTN said it was reviewing the details of a report claiming that it violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act by supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A complaint has been filed in the district of Columbia, claiming that several western businesses were involved.

This was by allegedly making payments to ensure the protection of their infrastructure.

The defendants named in the complaint are six different groups, one of which is MTN and some of its subsidiary companies, including MTN Afghanistan.

The claim has been filed on behalf of civilians and the families of American service members, who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017.

MTN said it was consulting its advisers but remains of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories.

It said it would defend its position where necessary.

According to a statement by Sparacino PLLC, one of the law firms that filed the complaint, MTN and the other defendants are accused of “knowingly or recklessly supporting a terrorist campaign that attacked, killed, and wounded thousands of Americans in Afghanistan.”

Court filings allege that MTN Afghanistan made protection payments to the Taliban from 2006 to the present. “MTN’s overall payments to the Taliban reached tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.”

The plaintiffs also accuse MTN of supporting the Taliban by deactivating cell towers on the Taliban’s request. “In or about 2008, the Taliban began demanding that Afghanistan’s major cellular-phone providers switch off their towers at night. The Taliban justified that demand by arguing that coalition forces were ‘using the cellular networks to track its insurgents throughout the war-torn country,” the complaint reads.

The plaintiffs want MTN and the other corporations to be held liable under US anti-terrorism law, and for them to pay “compensatory and punitive damages to the maximum extent permitted by law,” among other demands

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