Afghan University Students Are Suffering From Low Quality Yet Expensive Internet
For the past year, Afghanistan has been suffering from the effects of poor leadership and decisions by the Taliban Government. The consequences are too stark to ignore. Students at universities have filed complaints with the authorities because they are slowing down and getting more expensive internet. This is hindering their education and making it difficult to get into university. Officials from the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology Information stated that one gigabyte of internet data was previously available for 250 Afs. However, the price has dropped to 110 Afs. According to Enayatullah (a ministry spokesperson), the officials stated that efforts are being made to improve internet quality.
” The Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology Information lowered the price of internet,
The Taliban may make all the promises they like, but the reality is that their military victory in retaking Afghanistan and their online media campaign did not guarantee they would be able keep the service running for Afghanistan’s many millions of internet users. Although they were able to keep the internet running for longer than expected, this façade that the Taliban can manage anything and everything is not going to be maintained soon. Kabir Taneja is an observer in Strategic Studies at the Observer Research Foundation. He sees the Taliban’s internet strategy as:
“It was simple to walk into Kabul carrying Kalashnikovs on our shoulders. But when it came to running power stations and when it comes down to running internet ecosystems these are things we haven’t seen the Taliban do.”
Recent meetings between the Taliban and officials from Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority, (ATRA), revealed that they were committed to working together in order to keep internet access active.
This is just a few months ago ATRA reported that the Taliban had destroyed 28 telecom towers across the country. It seems as if they never imagined they would have to fix the things they so passionately destroyed before.
Etisalat, based in the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa’s MTN Group are the two largest mobile communication providers in Afghanistan. MTN last year announced that it was leaving Afghanistan’s market. Etisalat has yet to comment on whether they will cease operations. It is possible for the biggest internet providers to cease operations to have a huge impact. The Taliban cannot set up alternatives, so these price increases and speed deprivations are much anticipated. Kentik’s director of internet analysis Doug Madory told DW that Kentik monitors global networks.
It seems that the internet in Afghanistan runs on autopilot right now. We will not know for a few more weeks if the Taliban are able to maintain the internet’s functionality, if they have the resources and manpower to repair any outages or just keep the power on strong>.
Afghanistan connects to the rest via fiber optics. These cables run through Tajikistan, north of Afghanistan, east through Pakistan and then through Iran. The Taliban will continue to pay for the internet services provided by the cables. It is uncertain whether the Taliban will be able to continue the flow of information with their assets in the USA frozen and foreign aid stopped. They will soon be unable to pay the bill and either have to stop using the internet or find other ways to keep the West informed.