2014-01-22T153149Z_4_CBREA0L0TI900_RTROPTP_2_AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan cracks down on commercials that favour U.S. troops

U.S. Army soldiers with Charlie Company, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division set up a supportive position during a mission near Command Outpost Pa'in Kalay in Maiwand District, Kandahar ProvinceBy Hamid Shalizi KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan government, increasingly at odds with Washington, is cracking down on advertisements that promote keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 and has already shut down a spot aired by the country’s most widely watched broadcasters. The commercials – some funded by a U.S. organisation – have drawn official criticism because they urge President Hamid Karzai to abandon his refusal to sign a security pact with the United States that would enable the troops to stay. Despite Karzai’s refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) unless several conditions were met, many Afghans are uncertain the army is able to fend off Taliban insurgents without help from the NATO-led ISAF coalition of troops. MEDIA FREEDOM Afghanistan’s media watchdog said pressure on broadcasters was hurting attempts to establish the industry’s independence.

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