Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers from entering the country on Friday to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion. The order, issued by the Ministry of Interior, adds to the mounting tension between the countries. The Ministry said the newspapers were a conduit for Taliban propaganda. “The news is not based in reality and it is creating concerns for our countrymen in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Also, the newspapers are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen.” The tensions were highlighted on Thursday at a U.N. Security Council meeting, when Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul called on Pakistan to stop shelling in the border province of Kunar, which he said has killed dozens of civilians.
He said the attacks were jeopardizing relations “with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region”. Many Pakistani Taliban fighters have fled to Kunar and surrounding areas after Pakistan’s army pushed them out of its tribal region, taking advantage of the U.S. military’s withdrawal of most of its forces from these Afghan border provinces in recent years.