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network infrastructure in afghanistan

Posted on 2001.09.12 at 15:14
Music: DHA Tekno. 64+ hours. slurp it up, kids.
according to the following article:

http://www.dfn.org/focus/afghanistan/internetban.htm

internet access in afghanistan has been banned for most citizens (excepting, presumably, the ones in power), AND, most of the netpipes into Afghanistan come through their neighboring country Pakistan.

it's been learned already that the internet was used to coordinate the WTC/Pentagon attacks.

according to *this*:

http://www.sasianet.org/digitaldivide.html

there are two major ISPs in Pakistan:

SuperNet www.super.net.pk (subnet: 203.130.2.*)
Comsats www.comsats.net.pk (subnet: 210.56.8.*)

and a traceroute and subsequent IP range scan on another .pk email address turns up several interesting hosts in the 203.135.0.* subnet.

also interesting to note is the apparent presence of a financial institution at 203.130.2.91 and 203.130.2.93-

DISCLAIMER:
this post is for the purposes of distributing publicly available information ONLY. i am in no way/shape/form liable or responsible for anything you do with any information contained herein.

*grin*

Comments:


betternewthings at 2001-09-12 16:19 (UTC) (Link)

so...

if we attack innocent civilians in retaliation for acts that are brought about by a government that they do not control, are we not terrorists ourselves?
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-12 16:48 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

anyone who performed such an act (say, for instance, using a DDos attack to hose the routers/gateways that serve Pakistan) could, i suppose, be called a "digital terrorist".

however, i've yet to hear of anyone perpetrating a DDos attack being arrested or convicted. not that this is a "victimless" crime by any stretch of the imagination... but it's important to keep perspective.

isn't it a bit of a stretch to compare an act of hostile physical terrorism- that *directly* resulted in the losses of thousands of lives- to the disabling of a localized part of a communications network?

the logic here is that internet access allows these terrorists a channel for planning and coordinating attacks of the type we saw yesterday; one that by logic *must* have made it easier to execute, otherwise we'd have seen this sort of distributed terrorism already- no?

if these two ISPs were to be disabled, yes, roughly half a million people would be without external network access. something tells me the internet isn't quite as pervasive in their culture as it is in ours; i strongly suspect without the internet, life in Pakistan would go on pretty much as normal for *most* of the citizens there.

if you've got an explanation for how an attack like this would result in loss of life, i'm listening...
infinitedays at 2001-09-12 17:03 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

*applauds*
jonathan
subversiveseed at 2001-09-12 18:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

i think the question is not "will this particular form of aggression result in loss of life?" but rather "what right do we have to engage in any form of aggression against a people who have not taken any aggressive action against us?" the majority of the Pakistani and Afghani population had nothing to do with the attacks yesterday, and to engage in any action against them as a people, whether it be a military assault or a Denial-of-Service attack, is equivalent to the internment of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans during the second World War. Despite what our president and our military leadership may say, this was not an "act of war" in the conventional sense - no nation has declared war on America, and so a conventional military response, or any response which targets the population or the nation as a whole, will not only be unfair and unjust, but counterproductive. nothing helps terrorist recruitment like the murder of innocent civilians. if we make no distinction between terrorists and the population that they recruit from, then we only serve to drive those two groups closer together.

on the particular subject of overloading the pakistani routers - such an action will cause far more harm to American intelligence efforts than it will to bin Laden's communications networks. Osama is probably laying low right about now, resting after this major operation, whereas the NSA is probably frantically sniffing @ every packet that goes across those lines (oh, like you don't think there are back doors in most routers), and a DOS attack might mean the packet that has the essential info we're looking for slips through our fingers.
Meg
meglet at 2001-09-12 21:31 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

ok folks i'm about to say something you've never heard me say before, and may never hear again...

I agree wholeheartedly with jonathan.
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-13 09:09 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

of course you do, when the alternative would be to agree with me... ;)

(j/k, but i'm pretty sure you got that)
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-12 22:10 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

to engage in any action against them as a people, whether it be a military assault or a Denial-of-Service attack, is equivalent to the internment of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans during the second World War.

jon, i'm sorry, but that's complete and utter bullshit.

in high school i had a friend whose grandmother was actually in one of the internment camps- she spoke to us about it, and comparing being removed from your house and detained somewhere with the *rest of your life* in serious doubt _cannot_ be compared to the strategic isolation of a few segments of a network.

what i'm (hypothetically) discussing here is the closing of a channel of communication. the internet may have become an ingrained part of american life, but that doesn't mean it's a basic human right.

Despite what our president and our military leadership may say, this was not an "act of war" in the conventional sense - no nation has declared war on America, and so a conventional military response, or any response which targets the population or the nation as a whole, will not only be unfair and unjust, but counterproductive.

if we were to commit any act that resulted in hundreds, let alone thousands, of civilian deaths among the Afghani people you can bet your FUCKING ASS *they'd* call it an act of war.

did it make any difference to the Jews of Germany that they were being carted off and executed not by the German government, but by the Nazi party? i know that's a harsh analogy and i'm sorry for that, but the people who caused this are being protected and hidden by *some* government- one which obviously sees some need to protect their interests.

if you'd read the articles i'd linked to in the original post, you'd have seen that nearly everyone in Afghanistan has been denied access to the internet.

admittedly, i can't say that i've learned enough about the Pakistani government to learn if they similarly restrict *their own citizens'* access to this resource which you hold so valuable, but from the network probes i ran today i can tell you that the infrastructure in Pakistan is, as far as i can tell, entirely either privately- or government-owned (not that there's much of a difference).

internet access is obviously not a resource these countries are interested in sharing with their citizens, and even if it were, you still haven't convinced me that an attack on this resource would cause a significant change in the way of life of these people.

nothing helps terrorist recruitment like the murder of innocent civilians.

ok, this is the part where i declare you've taken what i said and ran off to the goddamned horizon with it. i never said word one about physically harming, let alone murdering, *anyone*.

on the particular subject of overloading the pakistani routers - such an action will cause far more harm to American intelligence efforts than it will to bin Laden's communications networks. Osama is probably laying low right about now, resting after this major operation, whereas the NSA is probably frantically sniffing @ every packet that goes across those lines (oh, like you don't think there are back doors in most routers), and a DOS attack might mean the packet that has the essential info we're looking for slips through our fingers.

this is the one thing you've said that makes any sort of sense. =)

jonathan
subversiveseed at 2001-09-13 03:27 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

dj.dk wrote:
if we were to commit any act that resulted in hundreds, let alone thousands, of civilian deaths among the Afghani people you can bet your FUCKING ASS *they'd* call it an act of war.

who's "we?" do you mean you and I, or do you mean the U.S. government? if you and I and several associates were to pull off a terrorist strike in, say, Kabul, I doubt anyone would call that an act of war. And as Tuesday's attacks seem, so far, to be the work of individuals, not a government.


did it make any difference to the Jews of Germany that they were being carted off and executed not by the German government, but by the Nazi party? i know that's a harsh analogy and i'm sorry for that, but the people who caused this are being protected and hidden by *some* government- one which obviously sees some need to protect their interests.

actually, by the time the Jews were being "carted off", the Nazi party WAS the government of Germany, so your analogy not only harsh, but flawed.

Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-13 09:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

who's "we?" do you mean you and I, or do you mean the U.S. government? if you and I and several associates were to pull off a terrorist strike in, say, Kabul, I doubt anyone would call that an act of war. And as Tuesday's attacks seem, so far, to be the work of individuals, not a government.

i think you give them too much credit by assuming they'd make the same distinction, rather than just saying it was "those fucking Americans". this is the country whose populace was partying in the streets once they heard the news about the plane crashes.

actually, by the time the Jews were being "carted off", the Nazi party WAS the government of Germany, so your analogy not only harsh, but flawed.

1. "carted off" wasn't intended to be demeaning; i've seen the videos of the trains. i've read Weisel's book. they were treated worse than cattle; livestock usually get fed properly. sorry if that came across the wrong way.

2. i'm busy building an exchange server at work right now so i'm not going to bother to check your facts on whether or not the Nazi party was still a faction or in power at the time; i'll take your word for the moment.

3. you still have yet to explain how lack of internet access (which the Taliban won't let their citizens have *anyway*) is equivalent to physical detainment.
jonathan
subversiveseed at 2001-09-13 14:26 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

dj.dk wrote:
i think you give them too much credit by assuming they'd make the same distinction, rather than just saying it was "those fucking Americans". this is the country whose populace was partying in the streets once they heard the news about the plane crashes.

actualy, that's incorrect. the people who were celebrating in the streets were small groups of Palestinians in Palestinian refugee camps. the Taliban not only condemned the attack but then begged the United States not to retaliate against them.

3. you still have yet to explain how lack of internet access (which the Taliban won't let their citizens have *anyway*) is equivalent to physical detainment.

they're not equivalent in terms of magnitude, they're of the same type: a communal punishment based on the actions of a few of its members.
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-14 14:17 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

HA HA. you're wrong, and i'm gloating. woo =)
betternewthings at 2001-09-12 18:37 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

If you start blaming "The Internet (TM)" for this, then what separates you from those who would seek to blame "The Internet (TM)" in America for Columbine?

"The Internet (TM)", and innocent Afghanis, are no more to blame than the telephone companies, or the spread of literacy.

If we destroy one of the few free sources of information into Afghanistan, we are preventing Afghanis from comprehending the horror of terrorism.

We have already seen distributed terrorism - we see it every day in Chechnya, Rwanda, Sudan, there are bombings, murderings, slavings, and gassings at a scale greater than the American bombings, every day.

The Khmer Rouge killed two million people, many in remote jungle villages, in one year - with knives, using a barely functional telephone network to communicate.

Destroying internet access in Afghanistan, like the internment of the Japanese, may not kill anyone. It may be an acceptable risk to you.

Freedom, however, must be defended for all people, even Afghanis. Without that principle, there's no point in fighting for America, is there.

(or see my previous LJ post)
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-12 22:24 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

this is all true and more logical than i've probably been thinking in the past couple of days; i'll admit that a close family mem

but the underlying debate here really lies in the direction of whether or not it's an "acceptable risk" to permit internet access to these countries at all.

fiber-optic cable gets laid not in the name of freedom, but that of the almighty Dollar; and seeing as the Taliban recently took over Afghanistan, which was engaged in over 20 years of civil war previously, i'm sure they're *intimately* familiar with terrorism.

again, i'm gonna hold firm to the stance that internet access is not a basic human right- it's a resource, a tool which can be used for good or evil; and while i'm no proponent of gun control, i don't think people who've been convicted of armed robbery should be permitted free and unrestricted access to 12-gauge shotguns, either.

i am NOT blaming the internet. i'd be one of the last people on the planet to do such a thing.

*sigh* i'm gonna break down and smoke some weed now. hopefully tomorrow i'll still be intelligent enough to continue this conversation.
betternewthings at 2001-09-13 01:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

To use your example of gun control:

Does this mean that when rogue robbers from Oakland attack you, that all peaceful people in Oakland should be disarmed?

Terrorists with the kind of money will always have communications - there's always a satelite phone somewhere, or packet radio.

The only people who will lose are the common people of Afghanistan, who will no longer be able to communicate with us, and will be forced to rely upon the government's media.

When internet is outlawed, etc etc.

The internet is a trivial thing - it's just bits, after all, but what matters is that we do not take out our anger at terrorists upon innocent Afghanis, in any way, shape, or form.
girlunder
girlunder at 2001-09-14 09:07 (UTC) (Link)

Re: so...

I don't want to go off on a random tangent here, but I don't think that citizens need hand guns. In England, hand guns are outlawed, and the crime rate is *insane* amounts lower than it is here in the states.

Used for hunting, rifles are much more difficult to conceal. Crimes are still carried out with them, but they are far less convenient than hand guns.
Colonel Angus
scosol at 2001-09-12 20:53 (UTC) (Link)

Hmmm

I agree with Kevin-

The word of freedom is spread by communication.
I'd imagine that most of the people in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan don't have quite the "world view" that we do.
If the Internet gives them this, perhaps they'll see that their leaders are not as popular and straightforward as they think they are.

Beyond that- any terrorist/dictator worth his salt is going to be having a new cellphone every day, and won't sleep in the same place twice, and will have several different satellite uplinks for whatever Internet usage he needs.

A GSM phone will give you 9600bps *anywhere* on the planet.
More than enough BW for simple communication.

At least- that's what I would do :)
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2001-09-13 09:49 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmmm

blah. if you two had read my supporting links, you'd see i'd already gone through that thought process.

kevin, your oakland analogy would only apply if there were already a ban on *every* projectile weapon in that city, down to the slingshot.

quoted from the first linked page:

(July 16, 2001) The Taliban have focused their censors on yet another media source.

The group that controls most of Afghanistan has banned the use of the Internet in order to "control all those things that are wrong, obscene, immoral and against Islam," according to Taliban Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil in a statement noted by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Media on July 13.

The Taliban adhere strictly to fundamentalist Islam, and rule their country accordingly. Radio Afghanistan was renamed Radio of Shari'ah (Islamic Law) and the television has been banned as a source of moral corruption. Women are banned from working and are barely allowed out of their homes.


this is why i used the words "strategic action". the adjective Orwellian doesn't do the current situation of information control in Afghanistan justice, IMO; the people in this country see what their government wants them to see; hear what they're intended to hear, know what they're *supposed* to know and not a whit more.

disabling Pakistani/Afghani internet access would only take it away from the people in power there- everyone else can't get to it anyway.

regardless of the direct effectiveness of such an attack on the Osaka Soup Ladle group, the idea was more one of poetic justice-

let the leaders in this country know what it's like to be isolated like their citizens are.

let them experience the kind of external pressure that will cause them to roll over on bin Laden.

& overall, let it not be forgotten that i never directly suggested such a thing.

all i've done is posted information that's readily available to anyone with the know-how; it took me 10 minutes to collect, tops.

all i've said is "if someone wished to carry out such an action, this would be a good place to start".

=)
jonathan
subversiveseed at 2001-09-13 14:39 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmmm

from the first article you linked to:
"Most users of the Internet log on through phone lines provided by neighboring Pakistan"

nothing in this article said most users of the internet use Pakistani ISPs, merely that they use phone lines from Pakistan to log in. It may be very possible that they mostly use Pakistani ISPs, but there is no mention of it specifically in the article.

from the second article you linked:
"In sum, Pakistan now has close to 40 ISPs in operation accounting for about 250,000 users."

i doubt, somehow, that if most people in Pakistan are banned from using the internet, they would have 250,000 users in 40 ISPs.

finally, i think the most salient point has already been made: disabling internet access is probably not going to hurt the leadership of the Taliban or al-Quaida as they have the fiscal and technological resources (at least some of which were provided by the CIA for them to fight the Soviets oh so long ago) to connect to the internet through other methods. So the only people we'd be hurting are those who are in no way, shape, or form related to the attacks on Tuesday.

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