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Stop intimidating telecom firms, Taliban told

Stop intimidating telecom firms, Taliban told

Aug 25, 2011 - 15:55

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The acting communication minister on Thursday urged the Talibaninfo-icon to lift restrictions on cell phone networks and stop intimidating telecom firms into suspending services at night in some provinces.

"Banning telephone services at night does not show Taliban's enmity with foreigners or the Afghan government, but with the people of Afghanistaninfo-icon," Eng. Amirzai Sangin told Pajhwok Afghan News.

One of the facilities the ordinary people have been able to obtain over the last 10 years was access to telephone services, the minister said, adding no one had the right to deprive them of this facility. He urged the Taliban to let the ministry provide such services across the country.

Residents of some provinces had no access to cell phone services and the blackout was an effort at blocking such services, Sangin remarked. Steps were being taken to end the blackout at night, he continued.

The militants recently started destroying mobile phone towers after some private companies rejected the Taliban's orders to suspend services at night, Sangin said.

As many as 25 mobile towers and other equipment of private companies were torched over the past month in Ghazni, Zabul, Paktika, Herat, Faryab, Helmand, Khost and Kandahar provinces.

The fighters, on the other hand, say foreign troops use mobile phones to track their communications and chase them during military operations.

"In response to the Taliban's claim, I can say foreign and Afghan forces have many other facilities to track them down.  The ban on mobile companies only means creating problems for the ordinary people," Sangin said.

About 17 millions of Afghans reportedly use mobile phones. One state-owned and four private companies are providing telephone services and about 40 firms offering internet services in the country.

About 85 percent of Afghans have access to telecom services, according to Sangin, who claimed the whole country would be covered with the facility over next three years.




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