AFJC raises concerns over temporary closure of radio stations by Taliban in Ghazni

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) has expressed concerns over the Taliban’s temporary closure of two radio stations in Ghazni province.

In a statement, the AFJC criticized the Taliban municipality’s decision to shut down Shamla and Dehkada radio stations for not possessing the required municipal licenses, despite these stations holding licenses from other government entities and fulfilling their tax obligations.

On Thursday, the AFJC disclosed that the Ghazni municipality had closed the stations on charges of lacking municipal licenses but allowed them to reopen on the condition that they obtain the necessary permits. This action, according to the AFJC, places undue pressure on media organizations, effectively subjecting them to double jeopardy by demanding additional licensing when they already comply with broader regulatory and tax requirements.

The closures occurred for three hours on Sunday after the stations reportedly ignored municipal orders to secure licenses. However, following negotiations that included resistance from station officials and coordination with local Taliban authorities in the information and culture sectors, the stations were permitted to resume operations, provided they agreed to meet the municipality’s taxation demands.

Taliban municipal officials have conveyed to the media organizations that pressure from Kabul authorities necessitates the enforcement of municipal law, which includes an annual “license tax” of 7,000 Afghan afghanis. The AFJC’s statement highlighted a broader issue of media organizations and journalists facing pressure from municipalities across several provinces to pay for municipal licensing, adding to the challenges faced by the media in Afghanistan.