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Taliban close women-run Afghan radio station for playing music

Published : 01 Apr 2023 10:45 PM

A women-run radio station in Afghanistan’s northeast hasbeen shut down for playing music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official said Saturday.

SadaiBanowan, which means women’s voice in Dari, is Afghanistan’s only women-run station and started 10 years ago. It has eight staff, six of them female.

Moezuddin Ahmadi, the director for Information and Culture in Badakhshan province, said the station violated the “laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate” several times by broadcasting songs and music during Ramadan and was shuttered because of the breach.

“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,” said Ahmadi.

Station head NajiaSorosh denied there was any violation, saying there was no need for theclosure and called it a conspiracy. The Taliban "told us that you have broadcast music. We have

not broadcast any kind of music,” she said.

Sorosh said at 11:40 a.m. on Thursday representatives from the Ministry of Information and

Culture and the Vice and Virtue Directorate arrived at the station and shut it down. She said

station staff have contacted Vice and Virtue but officials there said they do not have any

additional information about the closing.

Many journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Media outlets closed

over lack of funds or because staff left the country, according to the Afghan Independent

Journalists Association.

The Taliban have barred women from most forms of employment and education beyond the sixth

grade, including university. There is no official ban on music. During their previous rule in the

late 1990s, the Taliban barred most television, radio and newspapers in the country.