About the Ministry
The Ministry of Communication in Afghanistan was established in 1955. However, the first electronic communication equipment, i.e. one to one wired telephone network in Afghanistan was connected to the presidential Place in 1898. However, that one line network was replaced by a small telephone exchange with the capacity of 25 lines in 1908.
The next development in the telecommunication sector in Afghanistan was the telegraph services. The first telegraph station with the power of 2 KW, which was primarily used for military services, was installed at Baghi-Babour in 1914.
Further telephone switchboards with the capacity of 50 and 100 lines were installed at Shahi-Du-Shamshera post office in Kabul in 1919. At the same time, fourteen Afghan students were sent abroad to be educated in technology related to wireless telegraph. Later in 1920, another British made telegraph machine was installed in Kabul, which was operational until 1932.
Afghanistan became a member of the International Telegraph Union (ITU) in April 12, 1928, ITU was established in 1865 was renamed as International Telecommunications Union in 1932.
Seven short wave telegraph and telephone exchanges were purchased from Marconi and were installed in Kabul, Heart, Mazar, Maymana and Khost in 1930. Later on another system with higher power antennas was installed at the central telegraph building in Kabul in 1933.
An automatic relay telephone switch with the capacity of 1,300 lines was purchased in 1949; however, its installation was completed in 1950.
Few years later in 1953, another telephone switch with the capacity of 5,000 lines was purchased from Siemens and it was fully operational in 1957.
With the aid of hardware from Siemens, the ministry of Communication established telephone links between Kabul, Mazar and Kandahar in 1959.
In 1961, a 1,500-line switch was purchased from Czechoslovakia and was later installed in Kandahar. Kabul was linked to Torkham and southern part of the country.
Due to increasing demand for telephone services, a network expansion plan was launched in Kabul in 1964. Accordingly 3,000 telephone lines were expanded in Sher Shah Mena, and further 3,000 telephone lines were connected to Shar-i-Naw, 200 telephone lines were connected in Policharkhi and 5,000 telephone lines were connected to the central area of Kabul City. The network was fully activated in 1969.
The first international radio transceiver station with the power of 20 kW was installed in Kabul, which linked Kabul-Paris by radio. All international calls were transiting through Paris at that time.
Later in 1964, a 10-kW radio transmitter and two receiver stations were purchased from Philips, Netherlands and were installed in Kabul to improve communications with with Paris, New Delhi, London and Moscow.
In 1973, a network expansion project or the Second Telecommunication Project was launched with the technical assistance from ITU in Kabul. By the implementation of the project three automated sub-city switches were installed in Shar-i-Naw, Khair Khana and Microrayan, which provided further 13,200 new telephone lines to Kabul city.
In mid 70s’s, basic telecommunication services including wired telephone and telegraph systems were accessible at district levels all over Afghanistan. However, the telecommunication systems mostly were mostly restricted to governmental organizations and the local population had limited access to such services.
Afghanistan became a member of APT since 1979.
The telephone switches which are called Crossbars were installed in provincial cities Jalalabad, Parwan, Polikhomri, Shebarghan, and Kanduz in 1983-1984.
In the last three decades (80s and 90s, 2000), socio-political upheavals and war not only destroyed Afghanistan’s infrastructures and wealth, but it also destroyed the telecommunication infarstrure too. Because of the lack of suitable maintenance and wars, the telecommunications systems were mostly damaged and un-operational throughout the country.
After the establishment of the interim government in 2001 in Afghanistan, the country obtains new horizons of political and socio-economic rehabilitation and reconstruction. The subsequent transitional and then the elected Afghan government introduced new legislations which assisted private companies to make investment in the country and provide various services including telecommunications services for the population of Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) was the first among the new political entities in Afghanistan to design new strategies and policies which enabled private sector to make huge investment in the telecommunication and IT sector.