Announcing a cabinet decision on twitter Inamullah Samangani the deputy spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that, on grounds of misleading content the “Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is required to block PUBG and an application called TikTok.” He further added that the institution is going to enforce similar ban on channel that might be engaged in promoting immoral material and content. Shortly after the tweet when the spokesperson was inquired on a phone call about the new ban on the two applications he replied that the “filthy content [being uploaded on the apps] was not consistent with Islamic laws,”. He further added that “We’ve received a lot of complaints about how the TikTok app and the PUBG game are wasting people’s time,”. “The ministry of communications and information technology was 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 in January out of the total population of 40 million, approximately 23 percent have access to the internet under the Taliban regime.
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Although the ban on the South Korean video game might come as a shock to some, a ban on ByteDance Ltd TikTok video app does not come as much of a surprise as the application has been the center of controversy at multiple occasions.
In 2020, following the skirmish in the Galwan valley India blocked the widely popular video making app. India was TikTok’s biggest foreign market of the time, with an estimated 120 million users. Moreover, during the recent U.S China trade war the United States also tried to ban the Chinese app from operating in the States.
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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 the South Korea video game in 2020 after a 14 year old game addict in Lahore killed his entire family believing that they would come alive like game characters which resurrect after some time of being killed. The move however was quickly turned over as the decision faced backlash from the gaming community following which the IHC judge ordered to lift the ban. The then IT minister also took notice and said that it was not okay to go on banning apps left, right, and center, as it would “destroy [Pakistani] tech industry”.