Taliban Punish People For Using Smartphones


Peshawar: Taliban militants have launched a drive to collect smartphones that played music and video songs from local residents in Qarah Bagh district of Afghanistan’s southern Ghazni province.

Alam Khan, a resident of Mirakhan area of the district, was quoted by a local journalist as saying that Taliban had collected mobile phones from people in their area.

“Phones in which songs are uploaded have been collected by Taliban from people. Taliban stop each person and check his mobile,” Khan said.

Rahmatullah Khan, another resident, reportedly said that most people in Qarah Bagh district keep simple mobile phones that did not play videos.

“People use smartphones to talk to their relatives and friends who are abroad. But Taliban don’t allow the phone,” Khan said.

Several other residents also expressed similar views. Syed Alam, a resident of Sulimankhel area in Deh Yak district, was quoted by Pajhwak.com, an Afghan online news service, as saying that Taliban had long banned the use of large screen mobile phones, which they believe had misguided the youth.

Haji Noorullah, a tribal elder in Ghazni City, the provincial capital of Ghazni province, said that mobile phone was a need in today’s world and no one should prevent its use.

“To me, it is an insult to people,” the elder said, while urging the security departments to take action against the Taliban move.

Confirming the issue, Ghazni’s police spokesperson, Fahim Amarkhel, said, “We have received this information, but I would say Taliban had never done any good service to the people.”

He asked people not to remain quiet and raise their voice against this act. He said security forces were also trying to address the issue.

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesperson, said that local Taliban officials had not yet confirmed the issue, but claimed the insurgents had banned uploading porn films in mobile phones.

He warned everyone found with such films in their phones would be awarded harsher punishment. Ghazni is one of Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces and its Nawa district has been under Taliban control since last 11 years.

Under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, there was complete ban on music. In 1998, an official notice appeared in Taliban-controlled papers in Afghanistan warning, “Those who listen to music and songs in this world, on the Day of Judgment molten lead will be poured into their ears.”

Under their rule, people faced imprisonment if musical instruments and audiocassette tapes were found with them. Several musicians who were caught while performing or playing an instrument were beaten and jailed.

The ban on music was lifted in 2001 after the US-led coalition forces toppled Taliban rule. They are reviving the same policies in regions under their control, influence or occupation.