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Afghan Radio Station Shuts Down, Citing Taliban Threats Over Female Employees

FILE: Taliban fighters in a ruler region of Afghanistan's Ghazni Province.
FILE: Taliban fighters in a ruler region of Afghanistan's Ghazni Province.

The head of a private radio station in eastern Afghanistan says it was shut down after numerous threats from a Taliban commander in the area who objected to women being employed at the station, while a local official said that a private dispute was behind the incident.

Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni Province, says he received phone calls as well as written warnings purportedly from the Taliban commander.

Several districts in Ghazni are controlled by the Taliban.

Azimi says the Taliban threatened them because three of the station's 16 employees are women.

He said the threats had forced him to suspend broadcasts.

A spokesman for Ghazni's provincial governor, Aref Noori, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan on July 16 that the individual who had threatened the radio station has been detained.

He suggested that there hadn’t been any threats or warnings from the Taliban.

“After receiving a complaint from the [managers] of the radio station, we arrested the individual who had made threats through telephone calls three days ago,” Noori said, adding that the individual remains in detention.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, also denied the militants had threatened Samaa.

Under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, women were denied the right to education and work.

The Taliban has recently said it is committed to upholding women's rights under Islam, including the right to education, work, health, inheritance, and choosing one's husband.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

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