‘Criminals’ interfering with Roshan operations

10 Jun 2008

According to the Financial Times, Afghani cellco TDCA (known locally as Roshan) is being asked to bow to criminal and Taliban demands to pay protection money to avoid the destruction of its transmission network. According to Karim Khoja, CEO of Roshan, criminal gangs have started targeting mobile phone masts to extort money. ‘Two years ago our people in the south rarely got threatened because we were really the only service provider,’ Mr Khoja said, ‘But once our competitors came to the south the number of attacks on Roshan, in terms of being threatened and asked for money, went up. I believe the competition is paying money, but we don’t do that.’ The claim that alternative telecoms providers have been handing protection money over has been denied by rival mobile companies Afghan Wireless, Etisalat and Afghan Telecom. Amin Ramin, managing director of Afghan Wireless, said ‘We do not pay bribes to anyone. Our protection comes because we go into villages not just to make money, but to help the community by building schools and clinics, and hiring local guards.’

Afghanistan, Roshan