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Kabul Accuses Islamabad Of Blocking Afghan TV Broadcasts

The production room of Tolo Television in Kabul
KABUL -- Afghanistan's Ministry of Culture and Information has accused Pakistan's government of blocking retransmissions of Afghan television broadcasts in Pakistan.

Najib Manalai, the deputy minister of culture and information in Kabul, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that Islamabad is using its control over satellite TV firms to block retransmissions of all Afghan broadcasts within Pakistan -- private channels, as well as Afghan state television.

Some 2 million Afghan refugees who still live in Pakistan -- mostly in the Northwest Frontier Province -- rely heavily on the retransmissions for information from Afghanistan.

RFE/RL correspondents in Pakistan have confirmed that retransmissions of Afghan TV broadcasts have stopped.

The government in Islamabad has not commented about the development.

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad hit a new low this week when Afghan President Hamid Karzai directly accused Pakistan's intelligence service of having a hand in a wave of bloody attacks in Afghanistan, including last week's suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Karzai's allegations "will hamper the development process in the region."
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