Afghanistan will soon have free mobile access to Wikipedia

Wikipedia Zero will roll out thanks to a partnership with regional telecom Roshan.

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Montes-Bradley via Getty Images
Montes-Bradley via Getty Images

Afghanistan has been rapidly improving its technological infrastructure since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. A group of film historians in the country recently digitized films that had been saved from destruction during Taliban rule. An all-girl robotics team fought a recent travel ban and finally got the chance to compete in the US. And in 2010, the country moved ahead with plans for national electronic ID cards. Now, thanks to a partnership between regional provider Roshan and the Wikimedia Foundation, people in Afghanistan will get free access to Wikipedia via their phones for the next year.

According to the Independent, the Wikipedia Zero initiative is set to launch in the region later this month. It will give anyone in Afghanistan full access to Wikipedia including search and editing abilities. The access will not count towards users' data plans, either. Considering that Roshan just added 4G service last month, this is a big step forward. Wikipedia Zero has been providing free access around the globe since August of 2012, and has since added more than 60 operators in 50 other countries to the list.

"At Roshan, we are proud to have been leading the efforts to increase access to information," deputy CEO of Roshan, Altaf Ladak, said in a statement. "The partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation expands the frontier of access to information and knowledge, especially for Afghanistan's youth who make up almost two-thirds of the population."

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