The government of Afghanistan has decided to suspend services of two popular messaging platforms of WhatsApp and Telegram in the country. Officials confirmed suspension but termed it as “an attempt to resolve technical problems” – though media reports link the decision with wide use of both platforms by Taliban and other militant groups to conduct terror attacks.
An official from Ministry of Communications and Information Technology told media that a formal request of this ban had come from National Directorate of Security. However, the official insisted that the ban would be temporary and no longer than 20 days to resolve “technical issues”.
On the contrary, Shabhzad Aryobee, Acting Minister for telecommunications said,
“The move is in response to dissatisfaction with the services. In order to improve the services and solve the technical problems of these two programs, the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology is considering to introduce a new technology.”
Likewise, Najib Nangyalay, the spokesperson for the ministry of Telecommunications told media,
“We are testing a new technology and WhatsApp and Telegram will be temporarily blocked. It is not a blow to the freedom of communication in Afghanistan – we have access to Facebook, Twitter. We are committed to the freedom of expression.”
Let’s see if the government of Afghanistan lifts this ban in 20 days or introduces “something else”.