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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 10:05 GMT
Kite Runner banned in Afghanistan
Ahmad Khan
Actor Ahmad Khan left Kabul in December.
The Kite Runner has been banned from cinemas and DVD shops in Afghanistan because it could incite violence.

Any shops found selling the film would be closed, the country's culture minister said.

The Kite Runner is based on the 2003 best-selling novel by Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini.

Its four child stars were flown out of Afghanistan last month amid worries for their safety over a homosexual rape scene in the film.

The Kite Runner explores Afghan society over three decades, from before the Soviet invasion through the rise of the Taliban.

In the story, the main character witnesses the rape of his ethnic Hazara friend by an ethnic Pashtun. The two groups fought bitterly during the country's 1990s civil war.


"It showed the ethnic groups of Afghanistan in a bad light," deputy culture minister Din Mohammad Rashed Mubarez said.

"We respect freedom of speech, we support freedom of speech, but unfortunately we have difficulties in Afghan society, and if this film is shown in the cinemas, it is humiliating for one of our ethnic groups."

Officials also fear that pirated DVDs of the film will reach Kabul and some residents could react violently to the controversial scenes.

Pirated DVDs are a booming business in Afghanistan, with new releases frequently available the same week movies are released in the United States.

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