Taliban Declare Plans To Block Access To Facebook In Afghanistan

The decision to restrict or block Facebook in Afghanistan will be a “further blow to freedom of information” in the war-battered country, the CPJ says.

Taliban Declare Plans To Block Access To Facebook In Afghanistan

The Taliban in Afghanistan have declared plans to limit or fully prohibit access to Facebook, a move denounced by rights activists. 

Najibullah Haqqani, the Taliban's acting minister of telecommunications and information technology, revealed his intentions in an interview with Kabul's TOLO News last week. 

Following two decades of siege and conflict, millions of Afghans now have restricted access to cellphone services and internet connections, resulting in a growing information blackout. 

The authorities have already prohibited girls' and women's education and employment, formal education institutions, entertainment such as music, salons, and grooming services, and the appearance of women in national parks, public spaces, and parks.

The Committee to Protect Journalists stated that restricting or blocking Facebook in Afghanistan would be a "further blow to freedom of information" in the war-torn country. 

It also highlighted the incarceration of journalists in Afghanistan, the shutdown of Afghan news websites, and restrictions on access to international media outlets. 

Beh Lih Yi, CPJ's Asia project coordinator, criticized the Taliban's latest proposal. 

"Social media sites, especially Facebook, have helped to fill a hole left by the fall of the Afghan media industry following the Taliban's takeover in August 2021 and the subsequent suppression of press freedom. 

"The proposed ban highlights the Taliban's worsening censorship," she stated. 

According to the CPJ, Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms in Afghanistan for sharing news and information. 

Tolo alone has almost 4.5 million Facebook followers. 

Just a day after the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in August 2021 following the fall of Kabul, Facebook said that it will continue to block Taliban material from its platforms, labeling the group as a terrorist organization.