Google Locks Afghanistan’s Email Account Over Taliban Retribution Fears

by : Emily Brown on : 04 Sep 2021 11:04
Google Locks Afghanistan's Email Account Over Taliban Retribution FearsPA Images

Google has reportedly temporarily locked a number of email accounts belonging to members of the Afghan government amid fears the Taliban may try to access information from former officials. 

Human rights groups have previously warned the Taliban may use digital data to target certain Afghan residents, with locals rushing to delete their internet histories and being instructed on how to evade biometrics following the group’s takeover last month.


As fears over the safety of data left by former officials and their international partners continue to grow, Alphabet Inc’s Google released a statement on Friday, September 3, to say it was monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and ‘taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts’.

Google search engine (PA Images)PA Images

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the measures include temporarily locking down ‘an unspecified number of Afghan government email accounts’.

One former employee of the Afghan government told Reuters the Taliban is seeking to acquire the emails of former officials, claiming that the insurgents had asked him to preserve the information held on the servers of the ministry he used to work for.


He commented: ‘If I do so, then they will get access to the data and official communications of the previous ministry leadership.’

Taliban fighters in possession of military vehicles (PA Images)PA Images

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The former employee did not comply with the Taliban’s requests and is said to have since gone into hiding.

Mail exchanger records show that approximately two dozen Afghan government bodies used Google’s servers to handle official emails. Google was also used by Afghanistan’s office of presidential protocol as well as some local government bodies.


If you’d like to help those who’ve been affected by the recent devastating events unfolding in Afghanistan, you can make a donation to the UN Refugee Agency United Kingdom here

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, Afghanistan, Data, Google, Now, Taliban


  1. Reuters

    Exclusive: Google locks Afghan government accounts as Taliban seek emails -source