The US “brazen” attacks Nepal, using its power to “violently interfere” with its elections, Nepalese officials told The Hill on Friday, in a stunning blow to efforts to bolster a fledgling internet and communications infrastructure.
“The US has a long history of using cyber attacks against other countries, and they’re trying to do the same here,” Nepaleses Information and Communication Technology Minister Vimalan Koirala said in a video message to journalists.
“We can’t let them win.”
The US Embassy in Kathif has been “shaken to its core,” Koira added, but he said he didn’t believe the embassy was under any threat.
“Our diplomats have been warned to not talk to anyone outside of the embassy, and we have asked the Nepalesis to be patient,” he said.
“There’s nothing they can do.
It’s just a matter of patience.”
In a video interview published by the Nepal Information and Communications Technology Ministry on Friday evening, Nepali Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha accused Washington of “targeting the democratic process” and accusing the US of “sabotaging the country’s economy” through its cyber attacks.
“This is very serious,” he added.
“These attacks are an attack on the sovereignty of the people of Nepal and it is a breach of international law.”
The embassy issued a statement Friday evening saying the US had been “clear that it is actively targeting the Nepali people.”
It said that the US has “a long history and practice of using its cyber-enabled tools to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of sovereign countries, including the people in Nepal.”
The statement did not mention the United Nations.
In a press briefing, the US Embassy told The New York Times that it “strongly condemned” the “staggering attack” and that it had requested a formal response from Nepal.
It said it had contacted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and was “working to identify additional countries to target.”
“We remain committed to engaging with the United States to resolve this matter peacefully,” the embassy said.
The White House, in its statement to The Hill, also called the attacks “reckless” and said the US would work to “de-escalate tensions” between the two countries.
It added that it was “reviewing” the allegations.
The US has not responded to The Washington Post’s request for comment on the embassy’s statement.