Only women-run radio station in Afghanistan shut down by Taliban

Afghan women’s rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters/File

A radio station in the northeast of Afghanistan run by women was shut down for what Taliban authorities say “played music during the holy month of Ramadan,” reported Al Jazeera on Monday.

The radio station — Sadai Banowan — was started 10 years ago and is the country’s only radio station run by women. It has eight members of staff in which six of whom are females.

The radio station violated the laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by broadcasting songs several times during the holy month, said Moezuddin Ahmadi, the director for Information and Culture in Badakhshan province.

Ahmadi also said, “If this radio station accepts the policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and gives a guarantee that it will not repeat such a thing again, we will allow it to operate again.”

Station chief Najia Sorosh, however, denied any such violation and regarded it as a pretext to close the station.

“The Taliban told us that you have broadcast music. We have not broadcast any kind of music,” she said.

Sorosh was quoted as saying: “At 11:40 am on Thursday (7:10 GMT), representatives from the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Vice and Virtue Directorate arrived at the station and shut it down.”

Al Jazeera reported that Afghanistan’s Vice and Virtue Directorate was contacted by the staff of the radio station, but the official refused to share any information about the closure saying “they do not have any additional information about the closing.”

Since the Taliban came into power in Kabul on August 2021, numerous journalists and media industry people have lost their jobs. Afghan Independent Journalists Association noted that many of the media houses were closed because their staff fled the country.

Those who refuse to comply with the directives of Taliban authorities are detained and later tortured and abused, stated the report.

The authorities in Afghanistan also barred most Afghan women from earning a living. They also prohibited girls’ education beyond sixth grade including the universities. There is no official ban on music.

During their reign in the 1990s, Afghan Taliban shut down most of the media houses, radios and newspapers.

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