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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Cable TV returns to Kabul
Watching TV in Afghanistan
TV returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taleban

Cable television has been switched back on in the Afghan capital Kabul months after it was banned for being obscene and un-Islamic.

Popular Western and Indian music, movie and sports channels have begun broadcasting again after President Hamid Karzai's cabinet passed a law allowing them to go back on air.

They were forbidden from broadcasting in January by the country's Chief Justice Mawlavi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, who said there had been complaints about "half-naked singers and obscene scenes from movies".

The new law is seen as a victory for President Karzai in the struggle between pro-Western and conservative Islamic elements in the country.

Mohammad Nasir Raastin, the owner of one cable firm, said he resumed broadcasting last week.

The programmes allow us to understand what is going on in the world - I like them
Habiba, 18

"The information minister has assured us that the law has been passed and it will be announced through the media soon after technical clearance by the justice ministry," he said.

Kabul cable TV proved popular following the fall of the Taleban, showing a dozen channels, mainly Western and Indian music, news and movies.

"The programmes allow us to understand what is going on in the world. I like them," said a student, Habiba, 18.

But her classmate, Kamila, said: "This is really Western influence. It should be stopped. It will damage our culture and religion."

Islamic values

In January, Shinwari explained the ban by saying: "We are Afghans, we are Muslims, we have Islamic laws and values in our country."

Cable TV is broadcast to about 7,000 mostly middle-class subscribers in Kabul. Services in the cities of Jalalabad and Herat were also banned.

Television was completely banned by the former Taleban rulers, as were many other forms of entertainment.

State television is now run by the Northern Alliance and does not show women singers.

Afghans ban cable TV
21 Jan 03  |  South Asia
Afghans ban 'obscene' TV
19 Dec 02  |  South Asia
Kabul bans Indian films
28 Aug 02  |  South Asia
'Afghan progress in free media'
01 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Afghan women gain media presence
28 Jan 03  |  South Asia


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