Afghan radio station closes down following Taleban threats

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A local radio station in eastern Afghanistan was forced to shut down after repeated threats from the area’s Taleban commander, the head of the station said yesterday.

Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, said he had received phone calls as well as written warning notes purportedly from the Taleban commander. The commander was not identified.

Azimi said Taleban insurgents, who control several districts in Ghazni province, threatened them because three of the station’s 16 employees are women. The Taleban are against women’s rights to education and work.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taleban spokesman, denied the insurgents had threatened Samaa.

The Taleban currently control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the October 2001 United States (US)-led invasion.

On Saturday, a local radio journalist was killed in neighbouring Paktia province. The police said it was not immediately clear if the killing of Nader Shah, a newsreader for Radio Gardez, was linked to his work or a personal dispute.

The developments come despite stepped-up efforts by the US to find a negotiated end to the country’s nearly 18-year-long conflict, America’s longest war.

Afghan talks that brought together the country’s warring sides ended last week in Qatar’s capital, Doha, with a statement that appeared to move closer to peace by laying down the outlines of a roadmap for the country’s future.