Why is there still no ban on the Taleban in the UK ?

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The recent Daily Mail furore over the recent BBC Newsnight tv interview with Taleban (or Taliban) leaders in Afghanistan appears to have missed a whole dimension of to the story.

Yesterday, the very lucky to still be in a job Home Office Minister of State for Policing and Security, Tony McNulty, provided Written Answers to several Parliamentary Questions about Proscribed Terrorist Groups. He managed to gloss over the fact that neither the Taleban in Afghanistan nor any Chechen terrorist groups have ever been, or are now, on the official list of Proscribed Terrorist Groups under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 3 Proscription

This means that it is still perfectly legal to belong to, or to claim to belong to or support, to arrange meetings of, or to wear distinctive clothing or uniforms associated with, the Taleban in the United Kingdom.

By virtue of the extra-territorial jurisdiction powers added to the Terrorism Act 2000, by the The Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 Part 2 Terrorist Acts and Threats: Jurisdiction which was brought into force in April 2004, and the pointless repetition of these same extra-territorial powers in the Terrorism Act 2006 section 17 Commission of offences abroad this also applies to any British citizens or residents overseas e.g. in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Home Secretary John Reid, and his predecessors Charles Clarke, David Blunkett and Jack Straw have all failed to Proscribe the Taleban, whilst maintaining the ban on obscurely named Irish terrorist groups, which were splinter factions of, or aliases for, Republican and Unionist terror groups e.g. the Red Hand Commando, which are no longer active.

This is despite the Terrorism Act 2006 section 21 Grounds of proscription and section 22 Name changes by proscribed organisations widening the scope to Proscribe groups or organisations which have never, themselves, actually been involved in any terrorist violence at all, but are only involved in the ill defined idea of "glorification".

Despite all these anti-terrorist legal powers, somebody in Whitehall appears to be protecting the Taliban.

Are there any Whitehall whistleblowers out there who will make public why the Taleban is being protected by the UK Government in this way ? Is it due to some unfathomable policy, or is it due to sheer incompetence ?

Until John Reid gets his finger out, and Proscribes the Taleban, he is simply uttering worthless NuLabour slogans, when he pretends to be "tough" on , say, "terrorist websites" or "denying the use of the internet to terrorists", claims which he repeated at the secretive G6 conference in Stratford on Avon this week.

This lack of a Ban on the Taleban, also makes a mockery of the the current ongoing Extradition Act 2003 saga of the British muslim IT technician Babar Ahmad, who , like the NatWest 3 bankers (David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew) or Gary McKinnon the computer hacker, is also facing extradition to the USA, without being able to challenge any prima facie evidence in a UK court. They all could and should, have been charged and tried, and if found guilty, convicted, here in the UK, which is where they physically were when they allegedly committed the offences they are accused of i.e. none of the extradition cases involve flight from custody or escape across international borders.

Babar Ahmad is accused, by the US authorities, of running websites hosted in the USA, which broke President Clinton's sanctions against Afghanistan, He is not facing any terrorism charges or any other charges in the UK, and it is unclear to us how the principle of dual criminality has been applied fairly in this case, since, neither the Taleban, nor any Chechen rebel groups, which his websites did support (without any evidence that they directly raised any money for these groups) were Proscribed Groups in the UK either circa 1999 - 2000 or today. There is obviously insufficient evidence to charge Babar Ahmad with any of the vast range of Terrorist Offences under UK law, and it is a disgrace that the UK and US Governments have been involved in "jurisdiction shopping".

Unlike the others we have mentioned, Babar Ahmad has never been granted bail, and has been languishing in prison since August 2004, awaiting extradition to the USA, where he faces the real prospect of ending up in Guantanamo Bay or under similar Military rather than Civilian judicial restrictions, which would preclude him getting a fair trial in the USA, for alleged offences, which have nothing to do with the USA, but with Afghanistan and Russia, neither of which countries have sought his extradition.


As I understand, the Taliban was simply the name for the fundamentalist religious regime of Afghanistan. As an organisation, it no longer exists, although there are still scattered groups of religious adherents. Afghanistan has returned to its pre-Taliban state of 'warlords' controlling various fiefdoms. 'Taliban' has become a blanket term used by the government and media to refer to anyone fighting the UK military occupation (mostly warlords and patriots), despite the fact that it no longer exists as such.

@ Dick Cheney - the UK Government, the UK Military , the Press and Media, the US Government, the United Nations, the European Union, and the people who were interviewed by the BBC in Afghanistan and Pakistan. all use the term "Taleban" (or Taliban) to describe the enemy in Helmand province and in Kandahar in Afghanistan and in the border areas of Pakistan.

Who told you that they "no longer exist" ?

They were called the Taleban before they managed to take over the capital Kabul, and just because there is a different coalition of tribal warlords and opium barons in charge there now, does not mean that the Taleban, or their allies, were ever destroyed. Even when they occuppied Kabul, it was only Pakistan and Iran who officially recognised them as a Government.

They are not the same as Al Quaeda (or Al Qaida) or other Proscribed Terrorist Groups.

Why should the Taliban be proscribed?? What have they done against the UK apart from providing an exemplar of hospitality (show us the evidence and you can have our guest)??
Where is the evidence that Osama bin Laden was involed in 9/11 that we were promised by Colin Powell but was never produced??
Or is wtwu now on the "guilt by association" bandwagon??

@ sam_m - in what way do you think that the Taliban pose any less of a deadly threat to British people than most of the organisations on the current Proscribed Terrorist Groups list ?

Why should it be legal to support the Taliban in the UK, when they have killed British soldiers in Afghanistan, and have threaten to do the same to any other British people they can get a chance to attack ?

Why do you appear to be supporting an evil cult which tries to enforce its dictatorship to enslave innocent civilians through terror at the point of a gun ?

The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

@wtwu- My soul is constantly engaged in the struggle against evil.
Why do you describe the Taleban as "an evil cult", is it your unfamiliartity with another culture and values? Are the Taleban more evil today than they were in 2000/01 when the United States gave Afghanistan over 100 million dollars in aid?

The Taleban were then the governing faction in Afghanistan. It's estimated they controlled approx 90% of the country prior to "Operation Enduring Freedom".

Today the Taleban appear to be a militia fighting to control territory held by other factions and to expel occupying armies i.e. NATO. This does not make them terrorists and for the UK Govt to brand them as such would open a can of worms. (I may be crediting the UK Govt with a rationality it has not shown elsewhere.)

I presume when you say "an evil cult which tries to enforce its dictatorship to enslave innocent civilians through terror at the point of a gun" you are being ironic in the light of events in the middle east.

@ sam_m -

Why do you describe the Taleban as "an evil cult", is it your unfamiliartity with another culture and values?

Are the Taleban more evil today than they were in 2000/01 when the United States gave Afghanistan over 100 million dollars in aid?

The Taleban were evil i.e. they censored, beat up, raped, tortured and killed their civilian political or religious opponents in 2000 and the re-formed Taleban are still evil today.

There is no way that the US Government gave financial aid to the Taleban in 2000.

President Clinton ordered economic sanctions against them on the 4th July 1999
see Executive Order 13129 and various United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions followed from October 1999 onwards.

This is the excuse for the US Government claiming jurisdiction over Babar Ahmad. He is facing extradition to the USA, accused of running websites (hosted in the USA) which allegedly helped to raise finance for the Taleban and Chechen rebels, not for any alleged terrorism aimed directly at the USA. There is insufficient evidence to charge him with any terrorist offences in the UK.

You misunderstand the role played by Government "aid", if you think that it signifies approval of a regime by the donor country. South Korea is still giving "aid" to North Korea, despite their atomic weapon threats, in the hope of avoiding food riot induced panic which might lead to the North Korean dictatorship launching a war, to distract their population from starvation at home.

The Taleban were then the governing faction in Afghanistan. It's estimated they controlled approx 90% of the country prior to "Operation Enduring Freedom".

But they were never accepted as the legitimate Government of Afghanistan, except by the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and grudgingly recognised the as the de facto rulers by Iran, primarily because they had to deal with the huge number of refugees crossing their borders with Afghanistan, fleeing from the fighting, and fleeing in fear, from the Taleban.

Today the Taleban appear to be a militia fighting to control territory

and to control the multi-billion dollar opium / heroin illegal drugs trade

held by other factions and to expel occupying armies i.e. NATO. This does not make them terrorists

They are not fighting
to establish a free, just and tolerant democratic society, are they ?

In what way are the Taleban any different, in this respect, from the only Afghani faction which is on the official list of Proscribed Terrorist Groups, namely Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin ?

"Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin (HIG):
Led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is in particular very anti-American, HIG desires the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic State in Afghanistan and is anti-Western."

and for the UK Govt to brand them as such would open a can of worms.

Good ! This should have been done years ago.

(I may be crediting the UK Govt with a rationality it has not shown elsewhere.)

"rationality" or a hidden agenda or incompetence ?

I presume when you say "an evil cult which tries to enforce its dictatorship to enslave innocent civilians through terror at the point of a gun" you are being ironic in the light of events in the middle east.

No irony intended - the Taleban are not the only evil cult oppressing people in the region.

@ wtwu- I'm not sure if you're acknowledging that the US gave the Taleban aid or not? It is widely known. Here's U.S. Congressman Ron Paul on it back in 01.

Another link for you on the people who've been put in power in Afghanistan subsequently.

And, something from the ladies RAWA (Scroll down for their news.)

If you've a particularly strong stomach you could Google the career of Ismail Khan in Herat.

I don't see that any of the current actions by NATO or the "West" are aimed at establishing a "free, just and tolerant democratic society" nor why they should be. Those values beg definition and the world is a complicated place.

I seem to have gone a long way off topic on a before and after OEF "six of one, half a dozen of the other". It was your use of the word "evil". Evil is the province of the Church, fighting it is not for Governments.
I'll resist stepping up on to the soapbox, any last word is yours.

Insightful analysis, especially because it was followed by immediate disinformation by a commentator: "the Taliban was simply the name for the fundamentalist religious regime of Afghanistan" which is fundamentally incorrect because the Taleban was and is around before and after the regime. Afghanistan and out-of-control tribesmen is a bargaining tool in foreign affairs vis-a-vis India and Pakistan, in which the UK is supposed to act as intercessor (when it's really the instigant on both sides) on behalf of the US. To this end, the apparent descent into savagery and barbarism of the old frontier-land has been carefully supervised, cultivated and engineered by the MI6 and CIA for decades. The Home Office knows about the large number of Afghans here who have fought with or trained with the Taleban, but chooses to do nothing, because it doesn't want to throw away its own trump card in Indo-Pak affairs (in which the sole intention is to make sure that there is no danger of a recession of hostilities/distrust between India and Pakistan) by upsetting the tribesmen in Afghanistan. The media and covert ops both focus on Afghanistan, when Afghanistan is merely a decoy or weapon to get at the real target, which is more like Punjab and Kashmir, which were split in 1947 and which remain a barrier to a peaceful future for both India and Pakistan. That's the answer to your post.

@ Ex-HO - thanks for your insights.

If it is all really about Kashmir, then why are there several Kashmiri terrorist / freedom fighter Groups on the Proscribed List, and under various Treasury financial sanctions ?

wtwu, it's not about Kashmir as such. It's about having the ability to destabilise the entire region of South Asia. The UK government wants to reserve the power to foster hostilities between India and Pakistan, in order to coerce those countries into a situation where they can come under the control of Washington. The primary motivation for this is the long-term depopulation of the subcontinent. The Kashmiri terrorist groups and their Islamist umbrella organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba do not turn up in the UK, and when they do they do not claim involvement with Kashmiri terrorism because Pakistan has ALWAYS officially denied supporting or turning a blind eye to them. Whereas Taleban fighters come to the UK in large numbers, and are quite open about their involvement.

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Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.


Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.

Recent Comments

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence.gov.uk - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protestClimate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

netcu_logo_150.gif National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - keeps a watch on animal extremists, genetically modified crop protesters, peace protesters etc.
(some people think that the word salad of acronyms means that NETCU is a spoof website)

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme