Washington DC, Mar 29 (EFE).- The United States said late on Monday that the lack of press freedom in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been in power since August after the withdrawal of US forces, was a matter of “alarm and deep concern.”
In a statement, the US Department of State said that the Taliban had decided to cut off people’s access to “independent, objective, international media sources.”
“Media outlets such as the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Deutsche Welle have reported that their local broadcasting partners have been prevented from airing their programming in the country due to new, restrictive, and unpublished guidelines from the Taliban,” the statement added.
The state department said that the US government was “committed to supporting the right of freedom of expression the world over, especially for journalists and human rights defenders, to operate freely without fear of violence against them.”
Washington also stressed the need to protect the rights of Afghan women and criticized the Taliban regime’s recent decisions to continue preventing girls’ access to secondary education. EFE
“Each of these actions alone is alarming, but combined, they make clear the Taliban are not living up to the essential commitments they made to the Afghan people and the international community,” it said.
Last week’s Taliban order to keep the secondary schools for girls closed came immediately after the institutions reopened in Afghanistan for the first time after the Islamists seized power in August last year.
The United Nations has said the Taliban decision to shut schools for girls was a case of “structural discrimination” against half of the country’s population and left them exposed to “violence, poverty, and exploitation.”
The international community has closely followed the first months of the Taliban government, in the hope that the rulers would distance themselves from the hardline of their previous Islamist regime from 1996 to 2001.