Taliban silence Voice of America broadcasts in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Voice of America said Wednesday that Taliban authorities have banned FM radio broadcasts from VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Afghanistan, starting Thursday.

VOA said Taliban authorities cited “complaints they have received about programming content” without providing specifics.

VOA and RFE are funded by the U.S. government, though they claim editorial independence.

The Taliban overran Afghanistan in August 2021 as American and NATO forces were in the final weeks of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

Despite initially promising a more moderate rule, they have restricted rights and freedoms and widely implemented their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Associated Press Thursday that Afghanistan has press laws and any network found “repeatedly contravening” these laws will have their privilege of working in the country taken away.

“VOA and Azadi Radio (Radio Liberty) failed to adhere to these laws, were found as repeat offenders, failed to show professionalism and were therefore shut down,” he said.

The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said recently that Afghanistan has lost 40% of its media outlets and 60% of its journalists since the Taliban takeover.

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