Taliban close women-run Afghan station for playing music


JALALABAD, Afghanistan — A women-run radio station in northeastern Afghanistan has been shut down to play music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official said Saturday.

Sadaya Banwan, which means Voice of Women in Dari, is Afghanistan’s only female-run station and was launched 10 years ago. It has eight staff, six of whom are women.

Mueezuddin Ahmadi, director of information and culture in Badakhshan province, said the station repeatedly violated the “rules and regulations of the Islamic Emirate” by broadcasting songs and music during Ramadan and was shut down due to the violation. .

“If this radio station accepts the Emirate of Islamia Afghanistan’s policy and guarantees that it will not do such things again, we will allow it to operate again,” Ahmadi said.

Station head Najia Sourosh denied any violation, saying there was no need for the shutdown and calling it a conspiracy. The Taliban told us that you had broadcast music. We haven’t released any kind of music,” he said.

Soroush said that at 11:40 am on Thursday, representatives of the Ministry of Information and Culture and Vice Directorate of Virtue reached the station and closed it down. He said station staff had contacted Voice & Virtue, but officials there said they had no additional information about the closure.

After the Taliban took over in August 2021, many journalists lost their jobs. According to the Association of Afghan Independent Journalists, media outlets closed due to lack of funds or staff leaving the country.

The Taliban have barred women from employment and most forms of education beyond the sixth grade, including university. There is no official ban on music. During their previous regime in the late 1990s, the Taliban banned most television, radio and newspapers in the country.

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