Mobile phone calls and web access in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Softcentre, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. 'Junior Softcentre' is off gto Kabal in April, can anyone please tell me the best/cheapest way of using a mobile in theatre and web access for something like an IPHONE or laptop ?
     
  2. Is this your first Op Tour? If so then depends where your based, personal mobiles are not allowed OPSEC if Afghan is like Iraq then the rules apply. Get caught with a mobile when they are banned and basically you will be kicked out of Theatre in 24 hours, a £1000 fine and ( like one of my lasd got) 6 months Colly, although he did have it in the DIF!!! Have a safe one
     
  3. As has been said, no mobiles in theatre and in theory you surrender them for the duration on arrival in Afghanistan. There is web access via a booking system and welfare cards for calls home.
     
  4. And on top of the grand fine, it'll cost him a grand a month in calls! If the free 30 mins a week is not enough then he'll be able to buy top up cards. And there is always email!
     
  5. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Or Blueys. (You know,the old way.Paper & Pen.....)
     
  6. Deleted - Mongathon

    JK
     
  7. Hi SC

    Firstly, as an Ex mil, the warnings by those who know about Opsec rules in-theatre should be adhered to.(thats my H&S, Human Rights and Big Brother boxes ticked).

    1. Having visited the UK bases in Kabul, I think the guys and girls have access to the web via a secure system. Phone use may be more relaxed. Indeed wandering around ISAF Kabul local traders sanctioned by the Mil are flogging mobiles, so I have to assume rules are slightly more relaxed!!

    2. The cheapest UK Mob provider by a big margin is Virgin. Using a Liberty Sim on direct debit it will cost the fruit of your loins £1 per min to call mummy, and 25p to tell her a war story by text.

    It will cost him 50p per minute to recieve a call from you to tell him that he owes you bigtime for covering up from his Mum the "mattress incident" the night before deployment. To receive a verbal thrashing from you via text is free!!!

    Wish JS a safe one

    JK
     

  8. All of which will potentially see your details compromised and the UK end of the communication targetted. OPSEC is in place for a reason. even turning your UK mobile on in theatre registers the UK number with the provider roaming network, which is locally provided (obviously) and therefore open to compromise. refer to the news on the court case for the brummie who was targetted by these means.
     
  9. Thats a very good point Ratfink, totally agree. But still doesn't explain why the shop next to the Tora Bora is flogging mobile phones!

    Either its a mobile free zone or not? That question does not diminish each persons opsec responsiblilities. However take a look around Kabul, its choca with bleeding heart NGO's...all with mobile clamped firmly to their ears.

    For me its not an opsec issue per se, its more about information management in the aftermath of an incident, which is vital. If it was just OPSEC How would we have coped in Berlin with mobile phones?

    Incidently I'm unaware of the Birmingham story you quoted, perhaps a rehash of the details may help put it all in perspective as a timely warning.

    Finally I do understand the implications of calls being monitored in an isolated base in the south, but the questioner asked about Kabul, are they banned there?
     
  10. jk, its uk policy so technically banned in kabul as well. if you can have an itemised bill, so can the opposition. most ngo and contractors are using 'company' mobiles so they won't be compromising a personal number or even a mobile registered to their home nation. most of the ngo/condo calls will also be to other ngo/condo numbers or to military 'company' mobiles.

    i had no drama using company mobiles whilst in kabul but i would not use them to call even uk duty mobile type numbers. even if you buy a tora bora pay as you go type phone that you throw away before returning home, any uk numbers you call are potentially compromised from the local network records. as i said above, just because you see lots of mobiles being used by english speakers doesn't mean that that any of them can be connected/traced to the uk. if you get one and call only uk numbers (which is going to be likely unless you have lots of new afghan friends) then you set up a different and traceable pattern of use.

    the birmingham case was in the press last year - iirc he used his mobile in theatre and the numbers he called in the UK were compromised and then used to acquire him as a target on his return to uk

    the bottom line is that i didn't use my own mobile whilst in kabul and wouldn't have felt it safe for me or fair on others to do so. uk policy is clear, penalties for breaking it are clear. if you want extra chat to uk then buy extra paradigm minutes or buy a banana card if you have access to a landline that enables you to use it.
     
  11. a satellite bridge from the uk to a UK operator type low power Pico cell in the Iraq a stan could be considered as an option, stop all roaming with UK operators in these countries. However if they take the phone of camp yes it could cause possible opsec problems under the current config and conditions.

    However this is stab in the dark (no not a TA with the lights out) just some random thought
     
  12. Message received and understood!
     
  13. if you take a laptop get skype the calls are free skype to skype and it doesnt cost mutch to set up
     
  14. Forastero

    Forastero LE Moderator

    If you leg it into the UK NSE, you can get a banana card for €10 for about a million minutes. I've got one and had no dramas with it.
     
  15. If you get a SIP (skype type phone account) you can get a UK number so people can call you) you will need to download some software similiar to Skype)
     
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