Afghan Taliban warn TV station staff not to promote immorality after attack


The Taliban warned media organizations on Thursday not to promote immorality and foreign cultures a day after claiming responsibility for killing seven journalists for the country’s most-watched television channel.

The suicide car bomb attack in Kabul rush hour traffic on Wednesday was condemned by governments, human rights groups and rival news organizations as an assault on press freedom.

The Taliban said they targeted Tolo TV, Afghanistan’s largest private television channel, because it was producing propaganda for the US military and its allies.

Tolo was attacked for “promoting obscenity, irreligiousness, foreign culture and nudity,” the Taliban said in a statement. “Its workers were anti-jihad and anti-Islam elements trained by foreign intelligence toiling for the Americans.”

The Taliban openly threatened to target the station last year after it reported allegations of summary executions, rape and kidnappings by Taliban fighters during the battle for the city of Kunduz.

Although some details of those reports have been disputed, Tolo insists it was scrupulous in reporting all sides of the fighting, including allowing Taliban spokesperson a right of reply.

Tolo, which created Afghanistan’s first 24-hour news channel, has won a reputation for fast, credible reporting in a shifting media landscape that features scores of newspapers, broadcasters and online news sites.

The Taliban on Thursday said it is not specifically targeting media as part of a widening insurgency, but warned organizations they should not align themselves with Tolo.