First commercial station bows in Kabul

Dispatch - Afghanistan

NEW DELHI — Afghanistan’s first terrestrial commercial channel went on air May 22 in the capital Kabul, funded by Afghan businessman Ahmed Shah Afghanzai.

The station, which airs 18 hours a day, is the first step in developing a private TV sector in the country. During a one-month test, the new station will broadcast Afghan, Indian and western music and films, Afghanzai says.

The fundamentalist Taliban regime outlawed all forms of entertainment, including television until its collapse in 2001.

State television was restarted soon after, but the fare has been mainly musical programs a few hours a day.

The pubcaster, too, is heading for a facelift, thanks to the assistance of India and is slated soon to become a 24-hour channel aired via satellite all over Afghanistan.

Cablers began operating in Kabul in late 2002, showing Indian and some English programs.

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