Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 13:15 UK

Indian soaps face Afghanistan ban

Bollywood advert in Kabul
Indian films and TV are popular in much of Afghanistan

The Afghan government has told private television stations in the country to stop broadcasting Indian soap operas.

The culture and information ministry says the stations have until 15 April to stop broadcasting the shows.

A ministry spokesman said the decision follows a meeting with MPs and clerics. He said there had been numerous complaints about the shows.

Correspondents say the decision reflects the growing influence of hardline Islamists in Afghanistan.

There are six Indian soap operas running in Afghanistan, providing vital revenue for TV stations, but they have been criticised for being un-Islamic.

A television show broadcast recently which showed Afghan men and women dancing together at a movie awards ceremony caused uproar in parliament.

Correspondents say that foreign soap operas and music videos are relatively new to Afghanistan - most television was banned by the extremist Taleban government between 1996 and 2001.

While the shows are popular, they have alarmed conservatives who argue that they threaten to lower moral standards and harm Afghan traditions and culture.

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