Taliban insurgents have destroyed at least two cell phone towers in southern
Afghanistan in recent days, after phone companies failed to respond to demands
that they shut off wireless service at night or face attacks on infrastructure.
Afghan militants apparently believe that NATO troops in the country are using
mobile phone networks to track the Taliban and coordinate attacks against it. A
Taliban spokesman said earlier in the week that militants would begin blowing up
telecommunications towers if carriers did not voluntarily switch them off every
The first attack occurred on Friday, destroying a tower located in the Zhari
district of Kandahar province, and owned by Areeba, one of Afghanistan’s four
active mobile phone providers. A second incident was recorded yesterday in the
neighbouring Helmand province’s Sangin district.
Mobile phone companies began serving remote areas of Afghanistan after various
tribal elders encouraged them to do so, according to Abdul Hadi Hadi, a
spokesman with the country’s Telecommunications Ministry. Wireless service only
came to Afghanistan in 2001, after the U.S. and its allies overthrew the
terroristsupporting Taliban government.
“When they destroy any tower, it shows direct enmity to the people of that area.
I don’t think the destruction of the towers has any direct effect on the
government. It is the people who suffer,” Hadi commented.
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