Afghanistan has banned all Pakistani newspapers over anti-government propaganda security officials believe was aimed at Kabul, according to an interior ministry spokesman.
The announcement was made on Saturday and is likely to worsen already tense cross-border ties between the two countries, reports Reuters.
Pakistani newspapers have been known to include statements about the Afghan government and how they do not properly represent their people. They also usually claim that NATO-led allies are “occupying” the country, instead of offering security support.
Some Pakistani papers have also published speeches made by Taliban insurgency leaders, according to Ihsanuddin Taheri. Taheri stated that, “We totally reject these statements and the ban is to show them this.” He added that the nationwide ban will only be reversed by a ministerial decree.
Afghan border police have also been ordered to search shops in Nuristan, Kunar, and Nangarhar, provinces near the Pakistan border, in order to seize copies of Pakistani newspapers.
The Tehran Times notes that the ministry added:
“The news is not based in reality and it is creating concerns for our countrymen in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Also, the newspapers are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen.”
Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan were highlighted during a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday, when Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul asked for Pakistan to stop shelling in the border province of Kunar.
He added that the shelling has killed dozens of civilians, and that the attacks were jeopardizing the two countries’ bilateral relations “with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region.”
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, expressed on Thursday that her country will soon be holding confidential talks with the US and Afghanistan, in order to improve their three-way counterterrorism relationship.
Do you think that it is right for Afghanistan to ban Pakistani papers because they believe they contain anti-government propaganda?