Afghanistan has suffered from the consequences of bad leadership and decisions from the Taliban Government for the past year and now the outcomes are too vivid to ignore. The university students have filed a complaint with the relevant authorities as they are getting expensive and really slow internet which is a major hinderous between the students and their education. The officials of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology Information said that one gigabyte of internet data previously sold for 250 Afs, but the price has recently dropped to 110 Afs. The officials said efforts are underway to improve the quality of the internet as Enayatullah, a spokesman for the ministry said;
“The Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology Information has reduced the price of the internet,”
While the Taliban can make promises they want but reality lies in the fact that the Taliban’s military success in retaking the country and their online media campaign does not mean they will be able to keep service up and running for Afghanistan’s millions of internet users. Though they have been able to keep the internet going for longer than expected this facade that the Taliban can run anything let alone the internet is going to end soon. Kabir Taneja, an observer in Strategic Studies program at the Observer Research Foundation, sees the Taliban’s internet strategy as;
“It was easy to waltz into Kabul with Kalashnikovs on their shoulders, but when it comes to running power stations, when it comes to running internet ecosystems, these are things that we have not seen the Taliban be able to do.”
Recently, the Taliban met with officials from the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) and said they would be working together to ensure that internet access remains active.
This comes only a few months after ATRA reported that the Taliban had destroyed 28 telecommunication towers around the country it seems like they never thought they had to fix things they were so passionately destroying before.
Two of the largest providers of mobile communications in Afghanistan are Etisalat based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Africa’s MTN Group. MTN announced last year that it would be leaving the Afghan market. Etisalat has not made any public comments on whether or not they will halt operations. The impact of the two biggest internet providers ceasing to operate can be massive and as the Taliban can’t set up any alternatives, these price hikes and speed deprivations were much anticipated. Doug Madory, the director of internet analysis at Kentik, a company that monitors global networks told DW that;
“Right now it seems like the internet in Afghanistan is running on autopilot. It will be a few weeks before we will see if the Taliban have the capacity to keep the internet running, whether they have the manpower and the equipment to fix any internet outages or even just to keep the power on,”
The way Afghanistan is connected to the rest of the internet is through a series of fiber optics that runs its cables through Tajikistan north from Afghanistan, east through Pakistan, and west through Iran. The Taliban will have to keep paying for the broadband the country sends through the cables. With their assets in the US frozen, and foreign aid halted, it is unclear whether they will have the resources to keep the information flowing. They would be soon unable to pay for the service and have to give up the internet excess altogether or have to find ways to get the West on the same page.