In his new book, Me and Telecommunications, Mr. Sangin, who before 9/11 had been living outside of Afghanistan (courtesy of the Taliban) and is once again in 2021 living outside it, has chronicled his life and the struggles of his nation. He played a key role in that nation’s advances, having returned in 2002 to build a telecommunications infrastructure that connected the nation, enabled rare democratic elections and made it so that women and kids could surf the Web and learn about the world around them. He also made it possible for every Afghanistan resident to have a cell phone (there are multiple carriers today in Afghanistan) and ended forever the embarrassing situation which found Afghans having to go to Pakistan to make a phone call!
He has much to say about the Taliban and the current situation. Some positive and some negative; all of it fascinating and honest. He is a genuine patriot who loves his country and is insistent that someday, if the new government allows it, he will go back. He says without hesitation that, right now, the telecommunications system, which had continued to grow and digitize when he was there, has become stagnant. “No new fiber is planned or being run.” It is stagnant and the $1.5B in investment revenue his ministry brought to the nation is a memory. Investment has stopped. “But the war is over,” he says. And that is good for Afghans.
Mr. Sangin sat for an exclusive interview with ICF in late 2021, and now you can hear it.