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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Taleban 'outlaw internet'
Taleban Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil
Mr Muttawakil: Against obscene and immoral material
Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement has banned the use of internet in the country, an Afghan news agency has reported.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) agency says the measure aims to block access in Afghanistan to anti-Islamic material.

"We are not against the use of the internet, but we are against the broadcast of obscene and immoral material, and material on the internet that is against Islam," AIP quoted Taleban Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil as saying.

He said the Taleban wanted to establish a system through which they could control incoming and outgoing information.

No infrastructure

With the war-torn country's infrastructure in ruins, it is practically impossible to connect to the internet using Afghanistan's country code.

Foreign aid agencies and the few Afghans who can afford computers and electricity connect to the internet through the few telephone lines provided by neighbouring Pakistan.

Mr Muttawakil said there was a problem monitoring those calls.

"The government cannot censor these because they are controlled from the communications centre exchange, which is not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan," he said.

AIP did not specify when the ban on the internet was imposed and how long the Taleban intended to uphold it.

Universities abroad not recognised

In another measure aimed at blocking outside influences, the Taleban have reportedly decided to stop recognising academic qualifications from universities outside the country.

Taleban radio said the qualifications from the Afghan University in Peshawar, Pakistan, in particular, would not be accepted.

Out of the university's 3,000 students, mostly Afghan refugees, 700 are women.

See also:

27 Jun 01 | South Asia
Inside Afghanistan: Behind the veil
11 Jul 01 | South Asia
UN urges Taleban to help women
20 Jul 00 | South Asia
Ban on Afghan women to stay
10 Jul 00 | South Asia
Taleban move against women workers
20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
08 Jan 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Afghanistan: Through veiled eyes
17 Mar 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Tearful farewell to Afghanistan
23 Mar 01 | South Asia
Afghan feminists go online
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