In Badakhshan’s remote district, people are deprived of telecommunications and transport services

While the telecommunications sector and reconstruction of road projects had grown exponentially over the last two decades in Afghanistan with Western aid, remote provinces such as the Shahri Buzurg district of northeastern Badakhshan province are still lagging far behind because of poor infrastructure and lack of standard public services.

“People in Shahri Buzurg are deprived of basic public services, including telecommunications and transport ones,”  Haji Abdul Ghafoor, a resident of Shahri Buzurg’s Hawzay Dawng village told KabulNow.

“To speak to my relatives outside Afghanistan, I have to commute hours from my village to the district’s center. Lack of access to telecom services is a serious problem for us, and the Taliban authorities should solve it.”

Residents of this district also complain about poor road conditions and non-standard transport services which have hindered their access to hospitals, mainly located in the district’s center.

As Haji Ghafoor says, “We cannot take the ruined roads to transfer our patients to the district’s center because we often risk traffic accidents when we travel by road.”

Islamuddin, a driver who commutes between Shahri Buzurg and Fayzabad, the province’s capital city, told KabulNow that he witnessed several deadly traffic accidents on this route which bore causalities, including his own vehicle colliding a few times.

Mawlawi Fazlullah Hanif, Taliban’s district governor of Shahri Buzurg, has said that many roads in the district have been paved multiple times but each time ruined due to heavy seasonal snow and rain, which implies non-standard reconstruction of roads.

“Standard and quality reconstruction of roads in the district requires a huge budget,” Hanif noted.

“But, we are committed to providing the people of Shahri Buzurg with acceptable services, including telecom and standard transport facilities, in the future. We have certain plans to cater to the needs of people.”

Since their takeover, the Taliban have done little to improve the telecom and road services, especially considering the group’s destruction of a large number of telecom facilities and detonation of paved roads by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in their fight against the former government and US and NATO forces.