Mobile phones have fallen silent in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province on the orders of the Taliban, Telecom Engineers said, a potent reminder of Mujahideen power in an area chosen as the showcase for a transition to Afghan security. There has been no service for five days on any network in restive Helmand, where Afghan puppet police and stooge army are slated to take control of the capital, Lashkar Gah, from foreign forces in July. Massive war incidents have been reported in the region in which several hundred terrorist invaders as well as puppets have been killed and more than 150 of their tanks torn apart by Mujahideen planted IEDs. Across Afghanistan, Mujahideen have destroyed network towers of invader sponsored companies that refused to shut them down when ordered, because foreign forces used the signals to monitor Mujahideen. Night-time blackouts have become a fact of life for Afghans in more insecure areas, but a total stoppage is unprecedented. "The Taliban threaten us to shut down the network and call us a spy station, on the other hand the government harasses our workers when we listen to the Mujahideen", said engineer Ahmad Shah, head of mobile phone firm AWCC in the south.
"We are in a situation to listen to the Taliban rather than the government because there is no protection." The Taliban have already destroyed two of AWCC's network towers in Gereshk district, causing losses running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, Shah added. Mobile phones are vital to communication in a country where most infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged in over 30 years of conflict. There are virtually no land lines in much of the country, so stopping mobile signals hits communication hard. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi confirmed the shutdown, saying it was to prevent night raids by foreign troops and would benefit the people of Helmand. "The leadership has decided to ban all telephone networks and this move is better for all residents of Helmand", he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. "Their spies provide information by cell phones which lead to civilian deaths", he added. He said only the Taliban leadership could decide to lift the ban. Helmand officials could not be reached for comment on the blackout because their contact numbers are all mobile phones. Afghan public has appreciated this step since Helmand has been sustaining multiple night raids on civilians at the hands of terrorist invader forces for a long time now. This is perhaps the first step towards decisive annihilation of terrorist invaders and their cowardly puppets in the southern portion of Afghanistan.