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Taliban Ban Telecom Services Across Helmand

The Taliban have forced private telecom companies into suspending their services in southern Helmand province, public representatives said on Tuesday.

On the other hand, some residents of the province allege government officials accept money from private telecom firms to limit the service of the state-owned Salaam network.

Provincial council chief Attaullah Afghan said the government was showed its weakness private telecom firms could not suspend services in government-controlled areas under the contracts signed with them

According to him, the Taliban ordered telecom companies to suspend their services last night, but the question was that can the Taliban ban telecom services in areas under government control?

The public representative said telecom services had many times been suspended over the past some years but the government remained unable to extend Salaam network service in order to resolve the issue.

Afghan alleged the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) was working in the interest of the private companies and had limited Salaam’s network services.

He said a Salaam network tower had been completed in Nawa district but it remained inactive. Military soldiers from Kajaki district were ready to shift the equipment there, but it was yet to be done.

Dr. Zabihullah, a resident of the provincial capital, said the government should promote its own telecom network in order to resolve the issue of Taliban’s ban and to increase income.

Helmand Governor Maj. Gen. Yaseen Khan said the provincial telecom chief and private networks’ officials had been asked to provide him information about contracts signed with the private firms. He said the issue had been shared with MoTI which had ordered an early solution. – Pajhwok

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