Residents in Lashkargah city, the center of southern Helmand province, on Tuesday said that telecommunication services have been disconnected in the city for the past ten days.
Cellphone services were cut after the Taliban issued threats against private telecommunication companies in the volatile region - once a key Taliban stronghold in the south.
The only cellphone company operating at the moment in the province is the government-run Salaam network.
The Helmand governor has said that the issue will not be settled until telecom companies reach an agreement with the Taliban.
“The ban on telecommunication services has posed harm only to the people; only the people are the victims of the terrorist actions. We are planning to boost the capacity of the government telecommunication services so that the people can benefit,” said provincial governor Yasin Khan.
The Taliban has confirmed that they had issued warnings to telecom companies.
“The government is also silent, the Taliban terminate all telecommunication services only through one order, but I don’t know why government does not have power to issue an order against them, our government should take the problem of the general public into consideration,” said a resident of Lashkargah Sediqullah.
The provincial directorate of telecommunications also said they have plans to extend government-owned telecom services in the province.
The head of Helmand Provincial Council, Attaullah Afghan, on Saturday said most parts of Helmand are under the control of the Taliban adding that telecommunication companies have suspended services in fear of having their towers and other facilities destroyed by the 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) were disconnected on the orders of the Taliban and not on the orders of government,” Afghan said.
Ghazni meanwhile is also largely without communication links, after having had it services disconnected on Monday.
Resident say cellphone services are only allowed to open their lines between 7am and 10am.
Residents also claim that services were suspended after Taliban threatened telecom companies.