A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, committed a blunder while sending out routine press release email on Saturday. He unintentionally revealed the names of about 400 people on his mailing list.
According to ABC News, the email was a press release sent to Ahmedi by a fellow Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. Ahmedi forwarded the message to everyone on his mailing list. But instead of using the BCC ("blind carbon copy") function that keeps email addresses private he made all the addresses public by using the CC ("carbon copy") function.
The list consists mostly of email addresses of journalists, a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an Afghan consultative committee, a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar (Afghan leader of Hezb-i-Islami, believed to be involved in several attacks against coalition troops).
ABC News reports the list consisted of more than 400 recipients. While the list of names consisted of only a few surprises, it still remains an intelligence blunder for the Taliban.
An exasperated Kabul-based journalist, Mustafa Kazemi, tweeted, "Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list."
Business Insider reports Kazemi noted that the email also revealed "a large number of Taliban personnel email."
According to ABC News, the Taliban send out regular press releases claiming responsibility for various attacks and making exaggerated claims of success and casualty figures. In recent times, the Taliban have increased the number of emails they send out. Most are sent from Ahmedi's account.
Curiously, the increase in emailing activity coincides with what is considered the end of the Taliban "fighting season" as winter sets in. ABC News reports this has prompted a journalist to joke: "I guess when fighting season ends, emailing season begins."
Embarrassed Qari Yousuf Ahmedi did not respond to emails requesting a comment on his blunder. He is certainly in trouble with Mullah Omar.