March 26, 2008
Cell Phone Shutdown Angers Afghans
Taliban attacks on telecom towers have prompted cell phone companies to shut down service across southern Afghanistan, angering a quarter million customers who have no other telephones, reports the Associated Press.
"Even some Taliban fighters now regret the disruptions and are demanding that service be restored by the companies.
The communication blackout follows a campaign by the Taliban, which said the U.S. and NATO were using the fighters' cell phone signals to track them at night and launch pinpoint attacks.
About 10 towers have been attacked since the warning late last month — seven of them seriously — causing almost $2 million in damage, the telecom ministry said. Afghanistan's four major mobile phone companies began cutting service across the south soon after.
The speed with which the companies acted shows how little influence the government has in remote areas and how just a few attacks can cripple a basic service and a booming, profitable industry. The shutdown could also stifle international investment in the country during a time of rising violence."
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