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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-15-98

New Company Formed to Build Taliban Phone Network

The New York Times reported new information on Telephone Systems International (TSI), the New Jersey-based company that signed a $240 million contract with the Taliban to build and maintain a communications network throughout Afghanistan.

The company was incorporated in June for the specific purpose of building a cellular telephone network for the Taliban. Two of the company's three owners, Gary Breshinsky and Afghan Ehsan Bayat, are known.

Construction of the network is scheduled to begin in a few weeks. TSI anticipates that, within the next two years on construction, at least 1 million working telephones will be available in 15 cities.

The network will give Afghans direct-dial access to the world, including access to the Internet. The Taliban has ordered that special software be used to block citizen's access to anti-Taliban Web sites, which they deemed "smut."

Breshinsky stated that TSI will use AT&T, Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson technology to build the pipeline. A spokesperson for Motorola later denied doing business with Breshinsky or the Taliban. "We have not signed any contracts in Kabul and we have never heard of a company called Telephone Systems International," said Motorola spokesperson Margot Brown.

There are no federal restrictions that bar U.S. companies from doing business with the extremist Taliban militia, which has committed countless brutal acts against Afghan women and is suspected of harboring Osama bin Laden, the top suspect in U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa last month.

Media Resources: New York Times - September 15, 1998


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