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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Taleban website defaced
The site has been changed by a hacker
By the BBC's Kate Clark

A hacker has broken into a pro-Taleban website, just hours after the Taleban banned the use of the internet in Afghanistan.

The hacker defaced the site with obscenities against the Taleban and their ally, the Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, and Chechen leaders.

The Taleban already have a long list of forbidden activities
The hacker publicised the fact that, while the Taleban have banned their citizens from accessing the internet, they and their supporters have been using it for external publicity for years.

Why ban the internet, the hacker asks?

Next you'll be banning breathing and sleeping.

And don't, he or she says to the Taleban, try and say your rules are Islamic.

Access denied

There is a long list of activities already forbidden by the Taleban under their interpretation of Islamic law.

They include music, pictures of animals and people, men shaving, women going on picnics, and just a week ago, bowing to people.

The latest decree forbids the internet for private citizens, foreign agencies and all government departments except for one authorised office, supervised by what the new decree calls a reliable person.

The communications ministry has been ordered to find ways of making internet use impossible.

State-run media

And the religious police are called on to pursue those who break the new edict and give them unspecified Islamic penalties.

Few Afghans had any hope of accessing the web anyway.

Most people do not have electricity or a telephone, let alone a computer.

And the country as a whole has only a tiny number of lines which are linked to the international system.

But for those who did have access to the internet it was a useful way to get news and information in a country where all other media is state run and heavily controlled.

The BBC's Kate Clark in Islamabad
"Most people don't have electricity let alone a phone or a computer"
See also:

25 Aug 01 | South Asia
Taleban logs whole nation off net
25 Aug 01 | South Asia
Taleban softens stance
09 Aug 01 | South Asia
Taleban ease foreigner restrictions
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
25 Aug 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Modern missionaries
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Afghanistan
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