May 13, 2008 / 10:03 AM / 9 years ago

Taliban ban TV in Afghan province

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents have ordered residents of a province near the capital Kabul to stop watching television, saying the networks were showing un-Islamic programs, officials and local media said on Tuesday.

The order is the last in a wave of curbs that the resurgent militants have announced in areas they are active.

A senior Afghan information ministry official, Najib Manelai, said that dozens of masked men with weapons entered mosques in Logar province at the weekend and threatened residents against watching television

"They threatened the people that 'if you do not give up watching televisions, you will face violence'," Manelai told Reuters.

Media reports quoted residents as saying that the Taliban imposed the ban because TV networks were showing programs that were "un-Islamic and anti-Afghan culture".

Removed from power in 2001, the al Qaeda-backed Taliban who lead a insurgency against the government and foreign forces, could not be reached for comment.

But while in power from 1996 until their ouster, the Taliban Islamists had banned television, music and cinema. More than a dozen private TV networks and scores of radio stations have been launched in Afghanistan since their fall.

The information ministry along with security forces was taking action against the Taliban move, minister Manelai said, without giving details.

The ban on television programs in Logar follows demands in recent weeks by a group of religious scholars and the information minister that some private television stations must stop broadcasting several Indian soap operas on religious grounds.

But the demand has been largely ignored.

The Taliban have in recent months also ordered mobile phones operators to shut down the networks, saying foreign troops were using the phones to track them down. They have also warned girls in several parts of the south and east not to attend schools.

Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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