‘ISI hacked e-mails of German cops in Afghanistan`

Germans communicated in the past on unprotected lines to reduce costs and thereby "opened the doors" to the ISI.

Updated: Oct 30, 2011, 15:52 PM IST

Berlin: Pakistan`s ISI systematically
eavesdropped on the telephone communication and hacked into
the e-mails of the German police mission in Afghanistan and
passed on the highly confidential and militarily sensitive
information to the Taliban, a media report said on Sunday.

The Pakistani intelligence service had advance
information about German President Christian Wulff`s visit to
Afghanistan two weeks ago and conveyed it to the Taliban, even
though the visit was kept a top secret by the authorities
until he landed in Kabul, Bild newspaper reported.

Shortly before Wulff`s visit, Germany`s intelligence
service BND had warned the Interior Ministry in Berlin that
the ISI had penetrated the communication network of the German
security forces in Afghanistan.

The BND has established that the ISI gained access to
highly confidential information through a security gap in the
communication systems of the German Police Project Team
(GPPT), which has been training the Afghan police force since
2002 as part of Germany`s involvement in the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry confirmed
that it had received a warning from the BND on October 11,
shortly before Wulff`s visit, that a Pakistani intelligence
service may be in possession of extracts from the e-mail
communication between the German police force in Afghanistan
and the Interior Ministry in Berlin, Bild said.

The information received by the BND on the ISI`s
espionage activities were "astonishingly concrete," it said.

The Pakistani intelligence service had access to detailed
information about around 180 German police personnel stationed
in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kundus and Feyzabad, the paper said.

It listened to their private telephone conversation
between Afghanistan and Germany, kept a watch on their reports
to the Interior Ministry and their military operations and
obtained a complete list of the German police contingent, it
said.

These revelations support the view that the ISI
"until today passes on militarily sensitive information to the
Taliban," Bild said quoting a security expert in Berlin.

The newspaper said the German police force may be partly
responsible for Pakistan`s espionage activities because
they communicated in the past on unprotected lines to reduce
costs and thereby "opened the doors" to the ISI.

Shortly after the warning by the BND, all four GPPT
locations received brand new computers with the most modern
software for encrypted communication, it said.

President Wulff was not aware of Pakistan`s spying on the
German police mission when he visited their training centre in
Mazar-e-Sharif. The German Interior Ministry decided not to
inform him about the breach of security, Bild said.

Pakistan`s penetration into the communication network of
the German police contingent was detected by accident.
Computer experts tracked down the ISI`s footprint when they
examined several computers which became extremely slow.

To what extent the ISI collected data about the German
police force in Afghanistan and passed them over to the
Taliban will be of interest also for Germany`s NATO partners
operating in the International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF), Bild said.

The German police communicates not only with the German
soldiers in the ISAF, but maintains close contacts with the
military leadership of the United States and the NATO in
Afghanistan through two liaison offices.

PTI