Can the underground “sneakernet” in Afghanistan survive the Taliban?.


When the Taliban occupied the city of Herat on August 12, Yasin and his colleagues speculated that it would not be long before the Taliban invaders hijacked their city, Mazar-i-Sharif.

“I was nervous about things in Mazar, so I and another computer kars The Mazar people we work with held a secret meeting to decide what to do to protect all of our content, “he says.Among them, an informal coalition of computers kars Hundreds of terabytes of data have been collected over the years, many of which were considered controversial by the Taliban and even criminals.

“We all agreed to hide the more malicious content rather than remove it,” he says. “We inferred that in Afghanistan, these regimes come and go frequently, but our business should not be disrupted.”

He is not very worried about being discovered.

“People are hiding guns, money, jewelry, etc., so don’t be afraid to hide your hard drive. They can never be found. [them]”He says. “I am a 21st century boy and most Taliban live in the past.”

Less than 20 years after former President Hamid Karzai made his first mobile phone call in Afghanistan, there are nearly 23 million mobile phone users in less than 39 million countries. But internet access is another matter. By early 2021, there were less than 9 million Internet users. This delay is primarily due to widespread physical security issues, high costs, and lack of infrastructure development across the country’s mountainous regions.

So computer kars Like Yasin, it can now be found all over Afghanistan. Information may be downloaded from the Internet when a connection is made, but most are physically transferred to neighboring countries’ hard drives (called “sneakernets”).

“I use Wi-Fi at home to download some of my music and applications. I also have five SIM cards for the internet,” says another Mohibullah. kar The person who asked not to be identified by his real name. “But the connection here is unreliable, so we send a 4 terabyte hard drive to Jalalabad every month. The content is full and the latest Indian movies and Turkish TV dramas, music and applications are returned within a week. Will be, “he says, paying 800 to 1,000 Afghani ($ 8.75 to $ 11).

“I’m not afraid to hide hard drives because people hide guns, money, jewelry, etc. I’m a 21st century boy and most Taliban live in the past.”

Mohammad Yasin, computer kar

Mohibullah says you can install over 5 gigabytes of data, including movies, songs, music videos, and even course lessons, on your mobile phone for just 100 afghani, or $ 1.09. “There are the latest Hollywood and Bollywood films dubbed in Dari and Pashto. [Afghan national languages], Music, games and applications from around the world, “he told me in early August, a few days before the Taliban took over.

A little more, Mohibullah helps customers create social media accounts, set up phones and laptops, and even compose emails. “I sell everything — content A to Z. Everything but” 100% movies “,” he said, referring to pornography. (He later admitted that he had some of the other nicknames for porn, “free videos,” but only sold them to trusted customers.)

Can the underground “sneakernet” in Afghanistan survive the Taliban?

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