Afghanistan: second Ministry of Defence email data breach emerges

A second data breach by the Ministry of Defence in the space of a few days that could compromise the safety of Afghans has emerged.

Defence officials sent an email that had the email addresses and some names of 55 mense, which could be seen by all the recipients.

The recipients, at least one of whom is from the Afghan national army, were told relocation officials in the UK had been unable to contact them and they were asked to update their details, the BBC reported.

The individuals affected have been contacted by MoD officials and offered advice on how to manage the potential risks.

It comes after the MoD launched an investigation on Monday into a separate data breach that led to the email addresses of more than 250 Afghan interpreters who worked for British forces being shared mistakenly.

An email sent by the MoD to interpreters who are seeking relocation to the UK, asking for an update on their situation, erroneously copied in all their email addresses, which could be seen by all recipients, showing people’s names and some associated profile pictures.

On the latest incident, an MoD spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of a data breach that occurred earlier this month by the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy team.

“This week, the defence secretary instigated an investigation into data handling within that team.

“Steps have now been taken to ensure this does not happen in the future. We apologise to those affected and extra support is being offered to them.”

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, apologised for the first data breach on Tuesday. He said an investigation had been launched and one official suspended. Wallace told the House of Commons it had been “an unacceptable level of service” that had let down thousands of members of the armed forces and veterans.

The former Conservative defence minister Johnny Mercer, who served in Afghanistan, said he feared there could be further similar incidents.

Hy het gesê: “I’ve been concerned from the start as to how these individuals have been treated – the whole thing was such a rush to the door when Kabul fell that these mistakes were inevitable.

“I personally think we’ve taken out people we really shouldn’t have, and failed to bring out the majority of those we should – I think we are only beginning to learn the scale of what has gone on here.”

Many of the people who worked with western forces are in hiding from the Taliban, who seized power in August as the west withdrew in the run-up to the 31 August deadline set by the US president, Joe Biden.

While more than 17,000 people were rescued by the UK – the largest refugee evacuation since the second world war – chaotic scenes at Kabul airport meant many of those who had assisted British troops were left behind.

In Junie, the MoD launched an investigation after classified defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the military were discovered at a bus stop in Kent.

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