Kapisa residents resent Taliban ban Salam operations
KABUL (Pajhwok): The militants have forced telecom companies to switch off their antennas at night, banning operations of a government-owned firm in far-flung areas of central Kapisa province.
A government-run telecom company, Salam launched its operations two years ago. But residents of remote areas of Kapisa complain telephone services are regularly disrupted at nightfor several years.
They claim the rebels have banned the Salaam telecom services and threatened area people with death in case they are found in possession of the company’s SIM cards.
Khalid, hailing from the Pachghan area of Nijrab district, says Salaam provided round-the-clock services until recently at cheaper rates. But the militants have warned people against using Salaam SIM cards.
He claims some of the people, subscribing to the company services, were recently beaten or killed while others were fined by the fighters.
“The Taliban think the individuals with access to telecom services may spy on them. As a result, they have also forced telecom firms to suspend their services at night. The fighters fear security forces may raidtheir hideouts.”
Haji Gul Ahmad, a resident of the Askin neighbourhood of Alasai district, complains of problems due to the absence of telecom services at night. He is particularly resentful at the Taliban ban on Salaam SIM cards.
He says they cannot venture out of home if an incident happensbecause the area is infested with militants. “We cannot contact even a doctor in an emergency situation...”
A dweller of Tagab district, Sherin Dil, wants the government to mount pressure on the telecom companies to provide 24-hour services.
Provincial council head, Azizullah Safi, verified the public complaints.He also confirms only Salaam provided day-night coverage but the militants banned itsoperations.
Provincial police chief, Abdul Karim Faiq, confirmed problems in remote and unstable areas. He said the issue could be solved if telecom companies installed more antennas.
He urged the people to stand united against the insurgents in protecting telephone antennas in their villages. However, Faiq added they would try to sort out the problem.
Telecom companies’ officials say they cannot not operate in areas where their employees are under security threat. The militants have not yet commented on the issue.
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