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Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 19:40 GMT
Afghan TV back on air
Mariam Shakebar (left), one of the station's presenters
The first broadcast included music and news
Kabul TV has gone back on air, five years after the Taleban banned it as contravening Islam.

Residents of central Kabul could watch a programme of music, interviews and news in the Dari and Pashto languages.

Greetings, viewers, we hope you are all well!

TV Presenter
Shimuddin Shamsuddin, one of the show's presenters, said that getting broadcasting going again had been especially important to the capital's women, whose freedoms were severely restricted by the Taleban.

"Everyone wanted to start working in TV again. For three days we've been trying to make it work. Now we are so happy," he said.

His co-presenter, a 16-year-old woman called Mariam Shakebar, appeared wearing a brown and cream headscarf.

New rules

Such a scarf would have risked serious punishment under the Taleban, who insisted women remained fully covered in traditional burqas and banned them from working.

TV studio
Most TV facilities have been destroyed by fighting

Ms Shakebar felt the regime's severity first hand. She was a 11-year-old children's TV presenter when the Taleban came to power and immediately lost her job.

Kabul's television station was severely damaged by fighting and has been empty since 1996. Its satellite dish was demolished by fighting in the early 1990s.

Reuters news agency said Afghan technicians have put an old antenna on the roof of Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, next to state-of-the-art equipment set up by foreign television networks broadcasting worldwide.

Nearby is a small radio satellite dish, riddled with bullet holes, which has also resumed broadcasting.

The newly back on air station has promised it will not censor its programmes.

"Greetings, viewers, we hope you are all well!" the broadcast began.

"We're glad to have destroyed terrorism and the Taleban and to be able to present this programme to you."

See also:

16 Oct 01 | Media reports
Mediawatch: Radio reaches out to women
30 Jul 98 | South Asia
Taleban telly task force
20 Jul 99 | South Asia
TV beatsTaleban telly-ban
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