For decades Afghanistan has suffered from constant conflict and internal strife. In certain areas of the country, where the Taliban and other terrorist groups threaten most, telecommunications are severely curtailed.  In Baghlan and Kunduz Provinces, for example, the Taliban have cut off cellular communications between 6pm and 6am, going as far as to demolish towers if telecommunication providers don’t accept their demands. (Anzo Mohammadi, 2018).

As recently as April 2021, we saw this in action. Read about the effects of the recent Taliban pylon attack in Kabul, which left the City in the dark.

Security conditions in these regions are poor, and the Taliban take advantage of this to ensure that communications are cut off to hide their presence from being tracked by cellular signals. Afghanistan as a whole relies heavily on cellular infrastructure and fixed line broadband has yet to reach a large penetration rate (Business wire, 2020). 75% of the population have mobile subscriptions (Blumenstock, et al 2018), meaning that the infrastructure is extremely vulnerable.

Telecommunications are fifth on a list of priorities to be upgraded as of August 2020 (UNECE, 2020) meaning that while there is rapid growth in the sector, the infrastructure isn’t there to support it.

What Keel Strategic and Grian Solar can do

Afghanistan lags behind other countries in the region for several reasons. Due to the constant conflict in the region, the telecommunication infrastructure is constantly targeted. The repair of this is expensive and the costs get passed down to the customers. This means that the average Afghan is unlikely to be able to afford access to any form of Communication Technology.

The unreliability of power in the country is another huge reason for the lack of Telecommunication infrastructure. With the unreliability of power even in Kabul, it is hard for ICT companies to operate, and for consumers to effectively access networks.

For more information on Energy Poverty, see our blog here.

Finally, the age of the infrastructure is a stumbling block. Prior to 2001 the country had telephone lines, however, over the years of war and conflict, these were damaged and finally destroyed in 2001. By 2002 new companies entered the market, building fresh infrastructure, though it was a slow process and the fixed line systems are still inferior to other countries in the middle-east.

With the strategic importance of a growing network infrastructure, it is imperative that investments are protected and use the best sustainable resources available. Grian Solar will allow you to power cellular stations and provide the energy output required to power an entire network of cellular towers and further infrastructure that is fast becoming required in a nation that is experiencing growth in both cellular and fixed line connections. Using our Solar power generators will allow for more efficient and reliable access to electricity, even in the most remote and mountainous regions of the country. There is a history of International and Aid Agencies providing Telecommunications software for conflict affected areas (Price and Thompson, et al), but energy poverty and constant insurgency mean that it is difficult to sustain any infrastructure that is provided by these agencies.

Keel Strategic can provide the training to allow for protection of any new infrastructure that is developed, allowing for better access to networked communications, mobile and fixed line broadband and the  property that is needed to provide these services across the country.

Continuing Development: 

The sustained development of a new infrastructure to provide freedom of communication to a larger proportion of the population must be a high priority, and with with a combination of increased security measures, a better ability to protect valuable property and infrastructure, company investments, and the capacity to generate the energy required to power this development and expansion Grian Solar and Keel Strategic are in pole position to make sure this is done.

We want to help provide the freedom that is deserved, regardless of geographical location or geopolitical issues. Afghanistan is only one example of an area that could benefit from our expertise and our problem solving, life changing solutions.

Afghanistan is rebuilding and we are committed to being part of the process. To find out more about what we offer see our website here for Grian Solar or here for Keel Strategic.