Afghanistan’s Taliban government bans TikTok

First-person shooter PUBG also barred for corrupting the young

Afghanistan’s Taliban government has banned made-in-China social network TikTok and first-person shooter PUBG.

The bans were announced with a Facebook post from the Afghan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

According to the BBC, Afghanistan’s government mooted a ban on the two apps in April 2022, after labelling them both as bad influences on the youth of the nation.

But the Facebook statement suggests the ban didn’t take effect because local carriers didn’t act to enforce it, so the Ministry convened a meeting of government and telcos to settle the matter.

The result was an agreement that TikTok would be made unavailable for a month, with PUBG banished for 90 days.

Researching this story led The Register to the Ministry’s web site, which lists tenders for antivirus software, repairs of optic fibres, and email services.

We also found a grim notice advising that several Ministry staff were killed when the bus taking them home hit a mine.

The site also contains news of increased scientific collaboration with China, so Sinophobia appears not to be a motive for the ban. Nor do the statements we have found express any concern about China accessing Afghani’s data.

Neighbouring Pakistan has also banned TikTok on grounds that it carries immoral content, but that ban has since been reversed after the nation’s government was (finally) satisfied that an appropriate level of censorship could be applied.

Ironically, US Senator Marco Rubio has called for TikTok to be banned, a very rare example of alignment between US and Afghan politics. ®

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