Foreign Policy Blogs

Information Wastelands

A waste wasteland. From WaPo.

A waste wasteland. From WaPo.

Bloomberg (home to belovedly hard-to-use finance info terminals, as well as actual news) notes that the Taliban systematically destroys the mobile phone infrastructure of the (shrinking?) chunks of Afghanistan they control.


Afghanistan, with 29 million people, had as many as 12 million cellular-service subscribers in December, according to the Afghan government. Fifty-two percent of the population has access to a mobile phone at home, 65 percent of users send text messages and more than half listen to FM radio through their phones…

Even poor folks in the a backwards, war-torn, double-landlocked country have cell phone access these days.

When average people on the ground have information access, they can reach outside information and break the propaganda monopoly of the Taliban. Most people will use their phones for purely prosaic purposes – but some will send quick, anonymous heads-ups to the good guys. And all of them will be pissy when the Taliban keep taking out the cell towers.

*No, not this Waste Land. Though April is around the corner.