Small Wars Journal

To Disrupt Elections, Taliban Turn to an Old Tactic: Destroying Cell Towers

To Disrupt Elections, Taliban Turn to an Old Tactic: Destroying Cell Towers by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Najim Rahim – New York Times

There are several reasons Afghan officials are struggling to determine how people voted in the presidential election last week — possible fraud, misplaced biometric data and the country’s vast geography. But there is one factor that has complicated the effort more than any other: the Taliban’s tactic of destroying cellphone towers.

Afghanistan’s growing cellular network has long been considered a benchmark for the country’s modernization and growth. But the destruction of the towers prevented voting officials from communicating with election workers in the country, while instigating fear and intimidation in the affected areas.

The Taliban have sought support in the rural hamlets and towns that harbor militants, even as they fight the government in Kabul. The cellphone tower strategy augments the group’s more traditional, and deadly, forms of insurgency. There were scores of attacks on election targets on Saturday that killed police officers and wounded civilians…

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