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17 April 2004 -- Afghan authorities have banned television broadcasts of female singers in the eastern Nangarhar Province, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported today.
The provincial government ordered the management of the state-run television in the provincial capital Jalalabad to stop broadcasting performances of women singers with "immediate effect."
Similar restrictions were imposed under the rule of the radical Taliban militia from 1996 to 2001 and reflect issues at the heart of divisions between fundamentalist and more liberal interpretations of Islam in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Women have returned to Afghan public life and television under the post-Taliban Afghan Transitional Administration, but appearances have been mostly limited to newscasts. A 12 January broadcast in Kabul of footage of 1970s and 1980s singer Salma and other female performers sparked intense reaction.