In a move that is likely to worsen relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan; the Afghan government has moved to block the entry of all Pakistani newspapers. In its order, the interior ministry of Afghanistan said that the newspapers "are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen".
According to the ministry Pakistani newspapers are usually filled with statements that the Afghan government has failed to represent its people and that its NATO-led allies have a strong hold on the country. "We totally reject these statements and the ban is to show them this," said Ihsanuddin Taheri. He also said that some Pakistani newspapers also publish speeches made by Taliban leaders. This is not a responsible move especially, at a time when the government is trying hard to engage Taliban in negotiations aimed at ending the 11-year Afghan war.
Experts suggest that the ban of Pakistani newspapers in Afghanistan will further strain the relations between the two neighboring states.
Afghanistan has urged Pakistan to immediately stop shelling in the border province of Kunar. Cross-border violence has become a sensitive issue in Afghanistan and this was verified by the Afghan foreign minister when he told the UN Security Council in New York that diplomatic ties with Pakistan were under threat.
Meanwhile, senior journalists from Afghanistan stressed that media persons from both countries should sit together to discuss how to convey truth without making use of any propaganda techniques. “I believe that the ban on Pakistani newspapers is no solution and I do not support such curbs,” said President of the National Union of Journalists of Afghanistan Abdul Hameed Mubariz.
Another senior journalist Sami Yousufzai who reports for Newsweek magazine also described the ban as an unwelcoming move by the government. “Many Pakistani newspapers, especially the English ones, have adopted a balanced approach towards events,” he said. However, all of them agree that the currently prevalent border tensions may have led to the ban on Pakistani media publications.