Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Afghanistan cracks down on Internet cafes for allowing porn



Seventeen internet cafes have been shutdown in the Afghan capital Kabul, for allowing their clients to surf porn websites and access other unspecified “un-Islamic websites”, the local Pajhwok news agency reported.

The move comes a few months after a crackdown on sale of alcohol, banned for Muslims and only sold to non-Muslims in a handful of bars and restaurants — though there is still a thriving black market selling bottles at a price.

Some friends in Kabul have suggested the tightening could be part of government efforts to placate the Taliban and hold talks with them, by cutting back on some aspects of modern society that the hardline movement is likely to object to.

But Afghanistan is still a conservative country, and there are plenty of people with no desire to see the insurgents back in power, who would still welcome tighter controls on the internet, alcohol and other potential vices.

The changing face of war in Afghanistan



I was embedded with Western troops a few days ago. Beforehand I was warned of austere living conditions at the combat outpost. I thought about the agony — since I suffer from technophobia — of filing stories through a satellite phone in the scorching heat.

As I rolled out my sleeping bag I noticed all the soldiers had mosquito nets over theirs. Actually, they were there to keep camel spiders and scorpions away. It was remote as can be. Grape fields, mountains and villages with mud brick huts with, probably, no electricity.