When Did They Get the Internet?
While the rest of the world enjoyed having the Internet since the 90s, Afghanistan has seriously lagged behind the implementation. This country got the Internet in 2002 after the Karzai administration overtook the office; prior to this, the Taliban government believed that the Internet was sinful, as it was full of immoral and anti-Islamic material. This is their modus operandi — anything considered immoral will be prosecuted by the Muslim law, so be mindful when you’re staying in that country.
Can You Gamble in Afghanistan?
Unlike most countries where gambling is legal, people in Afghanistan will have a hard time obtaining online casino codes provided by gambling sites. Offline gambling is banned too, with some exceptions for traditional sports like sheep fighting and kite running. You might assume that both land-based gambling and online gambling are in a legal gray zone, like in some other Muslim countries, but you’d be mistaken. Gambling, both online and offline, is forbidden and punishable by imprisonment, though there still hasn’t been a case of someone prosecuted for online gambling.
Who Provides the Internet?
Afghanistan has about 60 IPSs and over 5 million Internet users and holds the “.af” domain from 2003 onward. They’re very serious about the Internet now, and since 2006, Afghanistan is implementing a country-wide fiber optic cable network, providing superior speed and reliability compared to ADSL and Wireless.
Having Internet Access is relatively expensive in Afghanistan, and this severely stalls their penetration rate. A 1 Mbps connection costs ~$80 on a monthly basis, which is far more than almost anywhere else in the world.
Where Can I Have Internet Access If I’m Visiting the Country?
If you’re staying in Kabul, Jalalabad and Khost, you’ll find many Internet cafes and Telekiosks that have good Internet access. Sadly, the more remote rural towns and villages do not have any access to the web. This is quite different from the standard in the rest of the world, where even remote villages have wireless or satellite Internet.
Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and other giants on the web are often used by upper-middle-class people in major urban areas. Facebook boasts having circa 300 thousand users in Afghanistan, though a large part of this audience is foreign military personnel.
An SMS Social Network
What’s very interesting about Afghanistan is that, despite the low literacy rate and the high costs of having an Internet connection in a remote area, the Afghan people have a mobile social network called Paywast that lets users connect with friends and family through SMS service. Maybe a small portion (10%) of the population has Internet access as we know it, but almost half of the entire population has a mobile phone.
Paywast is used not just for friends and family, but for small businesses, organizations and civic services as well. This network proves that ingenuity can still keep people connected even if they’re limited by hardware or bandwidth, and sadly, the people in Afghanistan are limited by both.