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Afghanistan's Mobile Phones

Street sign for Afghan mobile phone
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 15 November 2007
At 1102 GMT on BBC Radio 4

The Taliban destroyed technology to protect Afghan morality but they effectively condemned the country to a medieval era. Today however, Afghans are embracing modern technology, and nothing is more popular than the mobile phone.

In a kiosk on a Kabul street corner, Lyse meets Suhaira, a young lady running Public Call Office (PCO). Suhaira has five children to support so the mobile payphone brings in much needed income.

Under the Taliban, women were banned from working and girls were not even allowed to attend school. Although this has now changed, Afghan society remains very conservative. Many do not approve of women in the workplace or running businesses.

When Suhaira first opened her shop, rumours were rife in the area that she was acting dishonourably by conversing with men. According to her husband, the neighbours even threatened to kill her.

Lyse Doucet reports on the Afghan love affair with the cell phone and if the most vulnerable section of society - Afghan women - can benefit from this new technology.

BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 15 November 2007 at 1102 GMT. It was repeated on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2030 GMT

Reporter: Lyse Doucet
Producer: Colin Pereira

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SEE ALSO
Upwardly mobile Afghanistan
14 Nov 07 |  Crossing Continents
Country profile: Afghanistan
03 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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