Mobile shopkeeper during selling mobile. (Photo: Ghayor Waziri)

Mobile shopkeeper during selling mobile. (Photo: Ghayor Waziri)

Before 2003, Afghan’s had no mobile phone network.  But with the collapse of the Taliban in 2001 mobile phones have become part of everyday life for 23 million Afghans. 

There is now major phone coverage in 80 percent of the country. 

And Sheer Nazar is now making good money selling up to 20 mobile phones a day. 

“Mostly people buy i-phones and and galaxy mobiles. It’s mainly the young generation who buy them,” he said. 

According to the World Bank, Afghanistan had only 60,000 people who had a landline telephone.

Now the government says there are around 23 million mobile phone subscribers.

“80 percent of the country has mobile phone coverage. There are huge numbers of internet users who get online via their mobile phones,” said Khair Muhammad Faizi the deputy of the state Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

University student Zianab Mohammadi got her first smart phone four years ago. 

“I was really surprised and very happy, I started using my phone to solve my problems. I can contact my friends and send them messages when I miss them.  I also sent and receive lots of love messages from friends.  It’s fantastic. I want to say thanks to mobile phones,” she said.

The Afghan telecom sector has attracted nearly 2 billion US dollars in foreign investment. 

Officials say this has resulted in the creation of nearly 200,000 jobs for Afghans.

Aqbal Majboor who runs a construction and logistic company says they use to have to go to landline phones in the market to make calls.  

“We would have to wait for hours for our turn. It was very hard to contact people. The call was expensive and it took hours out of the day to make a call.  Now with mobile phones doing business is much easier. My mobile is my life,” he says. 

But the Taliban has been attacking telecommunications infrastructure. 

During the past seven years about 300 Mobile towers have been destroyed after the telecom  companies refused to shut down communications during night time.

Taliban militants wanted night time transmission to stop to prevent security forces from getting tip-offs by intercepting their phone calls.


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