Communication services have been disconnected in Helmand province for the past four days with residents and officials saying that this comes after warnings were issued by militants against telecommunication companies.
The provincial governor Yasin Khan said telecommunication networks have disconnected their lines after receiving threats from militants.
“This poses losses to private companies because they are part of the private sector. They have received warnings not to activate their services in the (Lashkargah) city otherwise their networks will be burnt in districts. We have talked with them (telecommunication offices) to share this with their leaders so that they implement the agreement which they have made with government,” the governor said.
Helmand residents said only government-owned telecom services are operational in Lashkargah City, but the private telecommunication companies’ services are disconnected across the province. They said this has created problems for them.
“All networks are down except Salaam. We call on government to activate telecom services,” said Nematullah, a resident of Helmand.
“This has created many problems for people. Only Salaam is working but it is not allowed out of the city by the Taliban,” said Sayed Mohammad, a resident of Helmand.
“Everyone needs telecom services. Sometimes people have patients and need telecom services to call their family members for extending help for them,” said Mohammad Karim, a resident of Helmand.
The head of Helmand Provincial Council, Attaullah Afghan, said most parts of Helmand districts are under the control of the Taliban adding that telecommunication companies have stopped their services as they fear that their facilities will be destroyed by militants.
“Telecommunication networks are under Taliban control not under government’s control. The telecom antennas which are located in the center of Lashkargah City, in Bost Road or in the Cinema circle (in Lashkargah City) are disconnected on the orders of the Taliban and not on the orders of government,”Afghan said.
The provincial directorate of telecommunications said they have plans to extend government-owned telecom services in the province.