Talibans fear people who possess cell phones, mainly because one single call made by a civilian can ruin their entire day.
The United States may implement in their operations in Afghanistan one simple strategy, to give away cheap cell phones to locals. Taliban militants often take any measure necessary to avoid people signaling the U.S. military of their presence. When they occupy a village, they meticulously dispossess every indigent of mobile phones. A search is rapidly conducted and their aim is not to give away their position, as one single phone call can seriously interfere with their plans.
Locals may receive simple cell phones, not equipped with all type of multimedia features and maybe they cannot check their email but they will be able to inform the U.S. military of any insurgent moves. If this plan works, many lives will be saved, not just civilians but American soldiers as well.
I recall stories from relatives who told me that in Communist Romania they listened to an unorthodox radio station in communist opinion, Free Europe. A radio station broadcasting from France which informed people in different soviet controlled states on recent events without any political interfering. Radio equipment did not have to be necessary; a simple radio with a few modifications could be turn into a product capable acquiring Free Europe. Many people had to suffer because of this, more lost their jobs and in some cases they’ve been sent to political prisons. In any case, time passed and this had definitely an influence in 1989 revolution.
Cell phones sent to Afghanistan will be able to dial only to a specific number, thus alerting U.S. military. Probably locals will not be able to use the phones in a manner we are used to, but at least they have a life saving instrument.
Taliban militants will have even a rougher day clearing a village of mobile phones after this plan is materialized. All they have to do is miss one single phone and their day is will be a disaster.