MTN Asks US Court to Dismiss Claim Accusing It Paying Protection Money to Militants in Afghanistan

MTN has filed a motion asking a United States court to dismiss a claim accusing it of paying protection money to militant Groups in Afghanistan citing the lack of jurisdiction and the legal insufficiency of the claims.

A claim was filed in a US court in December alleging that the company violated the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money to al Qaeda and the Taliban, thereby supporting known terrorist organizations.

MTN said that its legal counsel requested the court to end the lawsuit and grant judgment in the company’s favor because the court lacked jurisdiction over MTN, which did not operate in the United States, and because the complaint did not allege any conduct by MTN that would have violated the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“Under U.S. law and procedures, MTN is not permitted at this stage of the lawsuit to challenge or contest the factual allegations made against the company, so the motion to dismiss focuses on the lack of jurisdiction and the legal insufficiency of the claims,” said MTN.

MTN said it had deep sympathy for those who had been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the tragic conflict in Afghanistan.

“The MTN defendants are not the extremists that caused plaintiffs’ tragic losses and injuries. To the contrary, MTN Afghanistan has been lauded by the World Bank for expanding telecommunications services to the impoverished people of Afghanistan and has itself been a target of violence in the devastating conflict in that war-torn country. Put simply, Plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendants in the wrong court based on insufficient allegations,” MTN said, adding that it remained of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories.

The case was filed on behalf of American service members and civilians who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017, and on behalf of their families.

The defendants named in the complaint are six different groups including MTN Afghanistan.

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