According to ATRA, in areas under threat, telecommunications networks have been racking up high expenses for years, and that is why telecommunications costs did not decrease despite declining service.
“In only one province, not two, almost 30% of telecommunications networks are switched off! This puts tremendous pressure on the telecommunications networks because they have expenses, but they don’t have the revenue,” said Sayed Haris Meer, chief of the evaluation and control branch at ATRA.
Meanwhile, sources told TOLOnews that in Farah province, five out of 11 government-run Salaam Network telecom sites have been destroyed or burned by the Taliban. The fifth was destroyed in Lash Wa Juwayn by a missile attack on Monday night.
Private telecommunications networks have been shut down for weeks in Farah province, and the Saalam Network operates only a few hours a day.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) admits that not only in Farah but also in other parts of the country, people face the problem of limited or stopped telecommunications services.
“Most of the provinces where the Taliban are active—especially in the west and east–are facing these threats,” said Shershah Nawabi, the ministry spokesman.
Seddiq Seddiqi, President Ghani’s spokesman, said that the government is working on a plan to protect telecommunications facilities across the country to “protect the towers and protect their offices.”
“These are our current conditions. Two years, three years from now, as the use of telecommunication goes much higher and the situation becomes more sensitive, there will be a need for a system that will suffer less of an impact in the future,” said Sayed Khudadad Mosavi, an IT expert.
The limitations of telecommunications networks in Afghanistan have been increasing year by year and in most parts of the country network employees have reportedly stopped working after receiving threatening messages from the Taliban.
It is estimated that with each attack on one of these telecommunication sites, the owning company suffers between $150,000 to $250,000 dollars.