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Former Afghan MP opposes ‘Talibanisation’

Former Afghanistan foreign minister has decried any move by the Govt to legislate a law to ban men’s jeans, long hair and couples talking in public.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2008 23:25 IST

Former Afghanistan foreign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah has decried any move by the government to legislate a law to ban men’s jeans, long hair, makeup, and couples talking in public.

“Such a law will not be in the interest of the Afghan people, who have now started breathing afresh after years of Taliban tyranny,” Abdullah told HT in an interview on the sidelines of the Seventh Eurasian Media Forum being held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

“Any such move is actually aimed at not protecting the Afghan society from so called obscenity but to avoid the local people’s attention from relevant issues like spiralling food prices,” Abdullah said.

“Food prices have shot up by 40 per cent in the last one month. Is this a more important issue or is it more important to ban the telecast of Indian soaps on Afghanistan’s TV channels,” he asked.

“Someone in the government is catering to the Islamic clergy in the country and with the 2009 elections in mind. The government does not want people to raise relevant issues affecting their day to day lives.” He said Afghanistan society would not allow the Taliban era to return under the garb of laws that curb its citizens’ personal freedom.

The government’s reported move comes after Kabul’s recent attempts to ban popular Indian soap, and a recent high court decision to confirm the death sentences of 100 people.

The proposed legislation is being viewed as a part of a large push for Islamic values by the country’s ruling religious elite. Earlier, speaking at the meet, Abdullah said the Afghan government was asserting pressure on private television channels to suit its interests.

Abdullah, 47, a Tajik-Pashtun physician, was foreign minister in the short-lived government headed by the Northern Alliance and was “foreign minister in exile” throughout the years of Taliban rule.