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A women-run radio station in northeastern Afghanistan has been shut down for playing music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official said Saturday.
Sadai Banowan, which means women’s voice in Dari, is Afghanistan’s only female-run station and was started 10 years ago. It has eight employees, six of whom are women.
Moezuddin Ahmadi, director of information and culture in Badakhshan province, said the station had violated the “laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate” several times by broadcasting songs and music during Ramadan and had been shut down due to the violations.
“If this radio station accepts the principles of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and gives a guarantee that it will not repeat such an incident, we will allow it to operate again,” Ahmadi said.
Station head Nazia Sarosh denied there was any violation, said the shutdown was not necessary and called it a conspiracy. The Taliban “told us you broadcast music. We didn’t broadcast any kind of music,” he said.
At 11:40 am on Thursday, representatives of the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Directorate of Vice and Virtue came to the station and shut it down. He said station staff had contacted Vice and Virtue, but officials there said they had no additional information about the closure.
Many journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban took over in August 2021. According to the Afghan Association of Independent Journalists, media outlets have closed due to lack of funding or staff leaving the country.
The Taliban bar women from most jobs 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 banned most television, radio and newspapers in the country.
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