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Telecom Tower In Northwestern Pakistan Destroyed By Explosives

Unidentified persons have destroyed a telecommunications tower in a northwestern tribal district of Pakistan, soon after it started providing Internet service, officials say.

Police told RFE/RL on November 5 that the tower in the restive North Waziristan district was destroyed by explosives.

The tower belonged to China Mobile Pakistan, a 100-percent owned subsidiary of China Mobile Communications Corporation. The Pakistan-based mobile data network operator does business under the name Zong.

No group so far claimed responsibility for the blast.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known as the Pakistani Taliban, and other militant groups are known to operate in the area.

A local police officer said the tower had been providing mobile phone signals since 2019.

But according to RFE/RL correspondent Umar Daraz Wazir, the blast occurred two days after the tower started providing Internet service to the area.

Local residents have staged protests in the past demanding high-speed Internet connections.

Pakistani security forces carried out a massive military operation in North Waziristan in June 2014 claiming that the TTP had been eradicated.

However, continued attacks by the militants suggest the group has returned and poses a threat to peace and security in the area once again.

Pakistani authorities are said to be holding secret talks with the TTP over a potential cease-fire and peace agreement to put an end to nearly 15 years of violence in the region.

The TTP is a separate militant group from the Afghan Taliban, although Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border in Afghanistan.