US forces fought cyber battles in Afghanistan, general says

In an indication of the importance of cyber weapons in today's armed conflicts around the globe, a senior military official said recently that the United States has carried out cyberattacks against its opponents in Afghanistan, reports the Associated Press.

“I can tell you that as a commander in Afghanistan in the year 2010, I was able to use my cyber operations against my adversary with great impact,” Marine LtGen. Richard Mills said Aug. 15 at an AFCEA conference on cyberspace operations in Baltimore. “I was able to get inside his nets, infect his command-and-control, and in fact defend myself against his almost constant incursions to get inside my wire, to affect my operations.”

At the time the cyberattacks occurred, Mills was serving as the commander in charge of international forces in southwestern Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011, the story said.

Although Mills, who is now deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, didn’t give any specific details as to the nature or scope of his forces’ attacks, the disclosure was startling because it signals that such matters -- at least when expressed in non-specific terms -- are not necessarily deemed secret anymore.

Pentagon officials, in response to inquiries related to Mills' remarks, said that U.S. cyber operations carried out in Afghanistan were properly authorized and that they took place within the bounds of international law and in accordance with existing policy, the story said.

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