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Taliban Bans TikTok, Popular Video Game In Afghanistan


Afghan girls wearing traditional dresses play with a mobile phone. The Taliban says its ban on certain social media applications is aimed to protect younger generations.

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have banned the social media application TikTok and popular online game PUBG, saying the move is aimed to protect younger generations from a bad influence.

Spokesman Inamullah Samangani tweeted that the Taliban government on April 21 instructed the Communications and Information Technology Ministry to restrict access to the two digital platforms, as well as instructing it to close all channels that broadcast what he called immoral programs.

"The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is required to block PUBG games and an application called TikTok, which misleads the younger generation," Samangani tweeted.

"Likewise, it must prevent as much as possible the publication of any channel that publishes immoral material and programs."

Chinese-owned TikTok, a global short-video platform popular with younger audiences, has been criticized for what some experts said was a negative impact on children and young adults' mental health due to the risk of addiction and its potential for bullying and enabling sexual predators.

PUBG: Battlegrounds, or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, is a player-versus-player online shooter game developed by South Korean gaming company Krafton. PUBG allows up to 100 players to engage in what is known as a battle royale -- a type of large-scale last-man-standing video deathmatch.

Experts say it would be difficult to completely bar the applications in Afghanistan because they can still be accessed via proxy applications and virtual private networks.

The Taliban returned to power in August following a blitz offensive across Afghanistan amid the hasty withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from the war-wracked country.

The militant group promised a softer version of the harsh Islamist rule that characterized its first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, when any form of entertainment was banned and punished severely.

But many restrictions, especially on women's rights to education, have still been imposed by the Taliban rulers since they seized control of the country last year.

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    RFE/RL's Radio Azadi

    RFE/RL's Radio Azadi is one of the most popular and trusted media outlets in Afghanistan. Nearly half of the country's adult audience accesses Azadi's reporting on a weekly basis.

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