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Twenty-three years of conflict have shattered Afghanistan, stalled foreign investment and ruined roads, utilities and public works. But the technology sector's recent take-off could help reshape the country beyond its cities' limits and revive its strong entrepreneurial tradition.

In this article, Michael Coren reports how telecommunications are becoming an important factor in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

In 2002, there was one phone line for every 1,000 people in Afghanistan, and just 1,000 Internet users and 15,000 mobile phone users, making it one of the lowest users of information and communication technologies in the world.

Today, its 29 million inhabitants have more than 662,500 mobile phones and Internet use is rapidly spreading.

The technology boom is bringing some much-needed wealth to the country, which produces few goods that can be sold and where agriculture employs 80 per cent of the population. The new infrastructure could also help to unite the country, which is divided by 70 languages and dozens of tribal and ethnic alliances.

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