MTN has asked a United States court to scrap the case filed against it on 29 December 2019, asserting claims for civil monetary relief under the U.S Anti-Terrorism Act.
The lawsuit was lodged by more than 143 families of American troops and contractors killed by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
They alleged that MTN, along with five other Western businesses, paid the Taliban for protection, providing the insurgency with money that was used to attack and kill U.S. troops.
The Taliban then used the money, according to the lawsuit, to fund attacks on other companies that didn’t make payments to the insurgent group. For more read: MTN To Defend Itself Against US Lawsuit for Alleged Funding the Taliban
MTN, which owns MTN Afghanistan, provides mobile phone telephony services in the country.
The defendants named in the complaint are six different groups of affiliated companies, one of which is MTN Group and certain of its subsidiary companies, including MTN Afghanistan.
MTN said in a statement late on Wednesday that the plaintiffs had sued the wrong defendants in the wrong court based on insufficient allegations.
The company argues that the plaintiffs lack jurisdiction over MTN and that the conduct they allege does not violate the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.
“MTN requested the court to end the lawsuit and grant judgment in MTN’s favour for two independent reasons: because the court lacks jurisdiction over MTN, which does not operate in the United States, and because the complaint does not allege any conduct by MTN that would have violated the Anti-Terrorism Act,” reads the statement.
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, MTN said in its filing.
“MTN has deep sympathy for those who have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the tragic conflict in Afghanistan.”
As stated in the motion to dismiss, however, “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 the war-torn country.
“Put simply, plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendants in the wrong court based on insufficient allegations.”