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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May 2008, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Afghanistan does Pop Idol
By Andy Brownstone
Newsbeat reporter, Kabul, Afghanistan

Rafi Naabzada
Afghan Idol was recorded inside a converted wedding hall

Rafi Naabzada might not be a household name in the UK, but in Afghanistan he is a national superstar.

Eleven million people tuned in to watch him win Afghan Star, their equivalent of Pop Idol and X Factor.

Newsbeat went to meet him in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

He's good looking and has a strong voice, but he's probably not in the same league as Leona Lewis or Shane Ward.

He said: "The Afghan people have given me a big responsibility of being a star, and I want to give concerts, and make music videos and very nice songs for the Afghan people."

Having a programme like this on national TV is a sign of how much Afghanistan has changed since the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

When they were in charge there was very little television, and music was banned completely.

I want to give concerts, and make music videos and very nice songs for the Afghan people
Rafi Naabzada
Rafi said: "Once under the Taleban some of my relatives were listening to some music and they turned up the volume. A Taleban car was passing down the street.

"They heard the music and came to the house and beat all of the people there."

Now you can hear Afghan and Bollywood music on almost every street in Kabul.

Two thousand wannabes queued for auditions, but the final had to held under armed guard because some people are still very conservative and don't agree with the show.

Daud Sediqi is the host and presenter on the national Afghan music radio station.

He added: "Some people don't like Afghan Star, they say it's not good for our culture.

"But most people like the programme and that's important to us."



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