Malala Yousafzai on the Taliban ban on education

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A radio station run by women in northeastern Afghanistan has been shut down for playing music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official said Saturday.

Sadai Banowan, which means women’s voice on Dari, is the only station in Afghanistan run by women and was established 10 years ago. There are eight employees, six of them are women.

Maezuddin Ahmadi, director of Badakhshan province’s information and culture department, said the station violated “laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate several times” by broadcasting songs and music during Ramadan and was shut down due to the violation.

“If this radio station accepts the policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and gives a guarantee that it will not do anything like this again, we will allow it to operate again,” Ahmadi said.

FILE – Afghan worshipers attend Friday prayers during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, March 31, 2023. A radio station run by women in northeastern Afghanistan was closed for playing songs and music during the holy month of Ramadan, an official said. a Taliban spokesman on Saturday, April 1.

Ebrahim Narouzi / AP

The head of the station, Najiya Sorash, denies any wrongdoing, saying there is no need for the closure and calling it a conspiracy. “The Taliban told us that you were broadcasting music. We didn’t broadcast any music,” she said.

Sarash said that on Thursday at 11:40, representatives of the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Office of Vice and Virtue arrived at the station and closed it. She said station officials had contacted Vice and Virtue, but officials said they had no further information about the closings.

Many journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban took over in August 2021. According to the Afghan Independent Journalists Association, media outlets have closed due to lack of funds or staff leaving the country.

The Taliban banned women from employment and education beyond the sixth grade, including university. There is no official ban on music. During their previous rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban banned most television, radio and newspapers in the country.

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