Afghanistan government is trying to temporarily block the access to Telegram and WhatsApp. According to the Afghan Communications and Information Technology Ministry, the order has been issued but he didn’t provide a detailed explanation as to why.
With the rise of technology and mobile messaging apps around the world, governments are becoming more aware of the widespread use of messaging apps and their potential risks.
These apps are growing fast in popularity — apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are popular in the west, while Telegram and WhatsApp are more common in the Middle East and Asian countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.
Only in Iran, social networks which are used by all kinds of people have more than 40 million users.
Many governments have tried to relocate Telegram’s servers into their own country but none of them have succeeded.In return, governments in countries such as Russia have tried to limit the access of these social networks.
The last attempt was by Afghanistan government, in which Sayed Najib Nangyal, a spokesman for the Afghan Communications and Information Technology Ministry, confirmed that the order has been issued but didn’t provide a detailed explanation as to why.
“Because of some technical problems and for better supervision, we had decided to stop services of these two applications,” he said.
Public use of mobile phones has increased in Afghanistan since Taliban was removed from power in 2001, while the use of services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Messenger is popular among the country’s politicians; as well as Taliban, which also maintains having access to social networks.
However, civil rights groups and Afghan social media users have criticized the attempt to block these messaging applications. Many argue such a ban is unenforceable anyway because it can be circumvented by the use of VPNs.
Not just in the middle east, but also in countries such as China and Brazil, governments are trying to shut down these social network services for the people of their own country in order to be able to control and observe better.
Update: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has announced in a tweet that there will be no ban on WhatsApp and Telegram.