FILE: Taliban Orders PUBG, TikTok Ban for Leading Youths ‘Astray’

Kabul, Afghanistan – In one of the latest cabinet meetings Thursday, Islamic Emirate has ordered the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) to ban access to online game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (BUBG) and the video-sharing app TikTok, saying the younger generation is being led astray by these platforms.

A previous attempt by the former government to ban PUBG was unsuccessful.

Since in power, the Taliban government has banned playing music, broadcasting international drama series, and use of neckties – yet PUBG and TikTok app in its latest – to prevent the so-called immoral contents.

“The cabinet ordered the blocking of access to PUBG and Tik Tok applications, which leads astray the younger generation, and also to prevent the publication of a channel that publishes immoral programs,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, as TOLOnew quoted.

After taking control over the country last year, the Taliban promised a softer approach to government; but has increasingly curtailed freedoms especially for women as girls school remain suspended since the beginning of new calendar in March.

The group is known for their severe version of Islamist rule that characterized their first stint in government between 1996 and 2001, where use of borqa (locally known as chadari) among older generation could be seem up to these days across the country.

While the current government tends to avoid “misleading” content younger generations, blocking two of the famous online platforms, Kabul youths have different views on online game PUBG and video-sharing app TikTok.

“Not only TikTok, but on all social networks we can learn life skills, we can learn languages and we can learn a lot of Islamic subjects, so it cannot be a reasonable reason to block access to these applications because it leads the young astray,” said Alexander Najib, as local media quoted.

However, not all younger generation agree with such a perspective, as another resident Tahir Ayoubi said, “young people can entertain themselves in other ways through drawing, painting and art. My personal opinion is that TikTok should be banned.”

PUBG, an abbreviated term for Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, is an online shooting game created by a South Korean developer gain popularity among online players.

Meanwhile, TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes. 

The number of internet users in Afghanistan has grown rapidly in recent years along with its youth population, marking about nine million users currently.