LASHKARGAH - Private telecommunication companies have suspended services in Helmand province for an indefinite period in compliance with orders from the Taliban, an official said Sunday, Pajhwok News has reported.
Omaidullah Zaheer, head of the Information and Telecommunication Department (ICD), told reporters in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, that the telecommunication companies had stopped functioning since Saturday 5:00pm.
He said the government could not pressurize the private companies to resume their services. “If we put pressure on them, the Taliban may torch mobile signal towers or other facilities”, he said.
Zaheer said currently 162 mobile towers were functional in the province while 10 towers of Salaam --- a state run telecommunication company --- were always functional.
Provincial Council Head Attaullah Afghan said the private companies should prefer public demands instead of bowing to Taliban’s pressure.
“Businesses and common people are customers of the private telecomcompanies but these firms always accept Taliban’s demands”, he added.
He asked the government to deal with the private companies in line with the law over suspending their services on Taliban’s order.
Javed Khan, a resident of Lashkargah, confirmed telecom companies had stopped services in the city since yesterday, creating problems for people.
The Taliban also confirmed the ban on mobile services in Lashkargah. Their spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the move was taken to ensure security of people.