Mobile phone calls and web access in Afghanistan

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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!
 
#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
Jimmy_Kranke said:
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

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
Ratfink said:
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.
Message received and understood!
 

Forastero

LE
Moderator
#14
Jimmy_Kranke said:
Ratfink said:
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.
Message received and understood!
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)
 
#16
Go to your nearest phone repair shop (not o2, vodafone, etc) they have all sorts of foreign devil sim cards for those calling home to Pakistan and stuff.
Lebara is the only one I remember.

Offtopic: there's so many 'foreign nationals' where I live, the local phone repair shop doesn't even have o2, orange or vodafone sim cards anymore! Just ones like lebara and giffgaff!
 
#17
Which part of "You are not allowed mobile phones" do people find it hard to understand. In times of troubles Op Minimise is for a reason and if you could have mobiles etc it would make a mockery of the system. Internet access and call cards are provided. Skype doesnt always work on Op Herrick systems 'cos of the bandwidth issue. Now live with it.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#18
Use the welfare system like everyone else. Free phone calls, and internet whilst Op Minimise isn't in effect.

Or, he could go to an ISP and pay circa $90 a month for his own internet connection through iClos or a similar company. These are also subject to Op Minimise, unless it's a corporate account costing $1000 a month.

You "can" (not should") download "whatsapp" and people can text you via the wifi. But take out your sim card before you turn your phone on, and don't get caught.
 
#20
To the OP, because there are two pages of largely waffle here, let's make it real simple. He should not have a mobile phone for in theater use, rules are clear and reasons behind it are clear. At the less extreme end of the scale, guys who's UK numbers have been compromised have had relatives / friends etc subject to abusive / intimidating calls. The welfare phones are actually pretty good, even if he is out and about and somewhere austere, they have Paradigm sat phones, so don't sweat it.
 
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