Afghanistan has banned all newspapers from Pakistan in a move the Interior Ministry says is aimed to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion through the press.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Afghan border police have swept shops in the eastern provinces of Nuristan, Kunar, and Nangarhar near the Pakistan border to seize copies of Pakistani papers.
"The Afghan Interior Ministry has banned the entry of some Pakistani papers in the east of Afghanistan," Afghan Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Muhammad Najib Danish said on September 23 in Kabul. "After an inspection and monitoring by the Afghan Interior Ministry, we found that there were some stories against freedom of speech and also there was a story against the Afghan security forces in Pakistani newspapers."
Ordinary Afghans, speaking to Reuters, largely agreed with the ban.
"We appreciate the decision made by the Afghan Interior Ministry regarding the banning of Pakistani newspapers," said Kabul resident Muhammad Naiem. "It is the right decision because the Pakistani papers were publishing propaganda and antigovernment stories."
Newspaper vendor Muhammad Samim also welcomed the ban.
"We are so delighted that the Afghan Interior Ministry banned the entry of Pakistani papers into Afghanistan," he said. "We welcome this decision."
The Afghan ban will likely add to tensions between the neighboring countries.
Ties have been strained by months of crossborder shelling that Afghan officials have blamed on Pakistan's military.
Islamabad accuses Afghanistan of failing to cope with antigovernment militants operating from hideouts on the Afghan side of the border.
With reporting by Reuters and the BBC