KABUL: The official Twitter account of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has been hacked, and a group apparently sympathetic to minority Shia Hazara protesters has claimed responsibility.
“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. #enlightenment #enlightenmentmovement,” a group identifying itself as Ghost Squad Hackers tweeted from the account late Saturday.
The hashtags refer to the newly-founded Enlightenment Movement led by Hazaras, who were targeted by suicide bombers loyal to the Islamic State group during a huge protest in Kabul on July 23.
“CEO Abdullah’s verified twitter account @afgexecutive has been hacked and our press and (information technology) teams are trying to restore it,” said Javid Faisal, Abdullah’s spokesperson.
Abdullah’s office said it had no information about the whereabouts of Ghost Squad Hackers.
“Afghanistan Gov Hacked by GhostSquadHackers #ChiefExecutiveOfficer Can you hear me now?” the group tweeted from their own account @GhostSquadHack.
The group appears to be sympathetic to the plight of the Hazara community which has been persecuted for decades, with thousands killed in the late 1990s by al Qaeda and the mainly Pashtun Taliban.
The July 23 attack, the deadliest in the Afghan capital in 15 years, killed 80 people. It came as the protesters demanded that a major power line be routed through the central province of Bamiyan, one of the most deprived areas of Afghanistan with a large Hazara population.
Following the attack Hazaras launched a massive social media campaign — with the hashtag #enlightenment — against what they call discrimination.