Announcement of a Cabinet decision on Twitter Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said that due to misleading content, “the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is required to block PUBG and an app called TikTok.” . He further added that the institution will apply a similar ban on channels that may be engaged in promoting immoral material and content. Shortly after the tweet, when the spokesperson was asked by phone about the new ban on the two apps, he replied that “dirty content [being uploaded on the apps] was not in accordance with Islamic laws”. He further added that “we have received many complaints about how TikTok app and PUBG game is wasting people’s time.” “The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has been ordered to remove the apps from internet servers and make them inaccessible to everyone in Afghanistan,” Samangani said.
It is pertinent to mention that the Taliban government came to power in 2021 after the United States withdrew its troops from the country. Since then, Internet users in the country have increased by seven percent. In a most recent report published in January, out of a total population of 40 million, around 23% have internet access under the Taliban regime.
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While the ban on the South Korean video game may come as a shock to some, the ban on the ByteDance Ltd video app TikTok isn’t nearly as surprising as the app has been at the center of controversy on several occasions.
In 2020, following the skirmish in the Galwan Valley, India blocked the hugely popular video maker app. India was TikTok’s biggest overseas market at the time, with around 120 million users. Moreover, during the recent US-China trade war, the US also tried to ban the Chinese app from operating in the US.
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Pakistan has also intermittently banned the Chinese app for allegedly becoming a platform for obscene content. Pakistan was also quick to impose a ban on South Korean video games in 2020 after a 14-year-old gaming addict in Lahore killed his entire family believing they would come to life as game characters who would resurrect after being killed for a period of time. However, the decision was quickly overturned as the decision received backlash from the gaming community, following which the IHC judge ordered the ban to be lifted. The then IT minister also took notice and said it was not acceptable to continue banning apps left, right and center as it would “destroy [Pakistani] technology industry”.