KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban have banned the broadcasting of BBC television news in Afghanistan’s three main languages, the British news agency said.

A spokesman for the Taliban administration’s culture and information ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

“BBC TV news bulletins in Pashto, Persian and Uzbek were canceled in Afghanistan after the Taliban ordered our TV partners to take international broadcasters off the air,” said Tarik Kafala, head of languages ​​at BBC World Service, in a statement. on Sunday.

“This is a worrying development at a time of uncertainty and turmoil for the Afghan people,” Kafala said, calling for the ban to be lifted.

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More than six million Afghans consume BBC news every week and it was crucial not to deny them access, he added.

Since the Taliban took power in August, many rights groups and journalists have expressed concern about the prospects for free speech in Afghanistan. The UN criticized the arrest of several journalists.

The Taliban say they will not seek to retaliate against those they disagree with and will give everyone their rights in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture. They said any specific incidents of abuse will be investigated.

The UN mission in Afghanistan has condemned the suppression of BBC bulletins.

“Another chilling development…another repressive step against the Afghan people,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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