MTN Afghanistan, a child company to the Global MTN, the largest telecommunication firm in South-Africa has announced to exit from Afghanistan and the Middle in order to solely focus on its Pan-African strategy, Reuters reported on Thursday.
MTN Group will sell its shares in Syria, Yamen and Afghanistan to other telecom providers in order to end its operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The company is accused of bribing the Taliban militants in Afghanistan to ‘safeguard’ its telecom towers and buying a 15-year old operation license in Iran through the payment of incentives, but the company has denied the allegations.
It was reported back in January 2020 that the company has paid bribes to both the Taliban and the Al Qaeda terrorist groups in Afghanistan in order to safeguard its telecom towers.
The allegations, made in a legal complaint filed on behalf of families of US citizens killed in attacks in Afghanistan, in a US federal court, said the firm violated US anti-terrorism laws.
Experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Afghanistan more than any other country.
“The Coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis have put all countries in a worse situation, but Afghanistan, a country being in poverty was affected more”, Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, entrepreneur and ex-Minister of Urban Development and Housing told Khaama Press.
In the beginning, the Afghanistan telecom market had rapid growth as it was a very new and interesting service, but recently the competition has increased and the market has changed, Mr. Naderi added.
According to Naderi, the Afghanistan market has only a capacity for 2 or 3 telecom operators at the moment, while there are 4 private and 2 state-owned telecommunication firms operating in the country.
Considering the growth of the population, the telecom market capacity will increase in the future, he said.
On the other hand, Abdul Razaq Vahidi, the ex-minister of Telecommunication believes the major motive behind the telecom market shrinkage is the lack of strong governance and the presence of widespread systematic corruption.
“I do not see a good future for Afghanistan’s telecom sector as the government has not played its role well in the areas of policy-making and providing infrastructural services”, Vahidi told Khaama Press.