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Google bans Afghan Taliban app for hate speech

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(Last Updated On: April 4, 2016)

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Google has removed an app developed by the Taliban from the Google Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets, designed to spread the militant group’s propaganda.

The app, “Pashto Afghan News – Alemarah”, displayed news and videos developed by the Taliban. It was discovered on Friday and taken down shortly after.

It violated Google’s rules on hate speech, which say: “We don’t allow apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity”.

A spokesman for the insurgent group told Bloomberg it “is part of our advanced technological efforts to make more global audience”, but said it had been removed due to “technical issues”. 

The app displayed messages in Pashto – a language used in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan – while Alemarah is the name of a propaganda network used by the Taliban.

“While we don’t comment on specific apps, our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers. That’s why we remove apps from Google Play that violate those policies,” a Google spokesman said.

The Taliban has made repeated efforts to spread its message over the internet, although websites and social media accounts are routinely taken offline.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has proven adept at spreading its message online, included launching its own app, although it has been thwarted in several attempts to distribute propaganda. 

Twitter and encrypted messaging app Telegram have removed ISIL accounts for violating their terms and conditions, while hacking group Anonymous has declared “total war” on the group.

The Taliban has recently rejected the opportunity for fresh peace talks between representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US.

There are more than 2 million Android apps on Google’s Play Store, according to figures from AppBrain, with half a million added in the last year, and thousands of new ones are submitted every day, creating a challenge in moderating the service.

Written by: Telegraph

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Improved security boosts tourism in Shulgarh district in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Local officials in Balkh province said this week that domestic tourism has improved substantially and that in the past month, about 30,000 visitors have visited the popular Khwaja Sekandar Springs in Shulgarh district.

Officials said that Balkh tourist attractions are drawing in large numbers of visitors amid improved security, especially visitors to the springs.

Balkh residents have welcomed the growing number of visitors to their province and said this was largely due to improved security.

“The difference is big, in the past there was insecurity, now because of the security of this place, people come a lot,” said Ghulam Yahya, a tourist.

Since the IEA took control of the country, provinces around the country are reporting an increase in domestic tourism due to the improved security situation.

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More than 1,000 infected with severe diarrhea outbreak in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

The Takhar Department of Public Health says that in the past three days, more than 1,000 people have been infected with severe diarrhea in Takhar province.

The public health officials said that most of the people infected live in the remote areas of Bangi and Ishkamish districts.

According to these officials, mobile health teams have been sent to the area to prevent casualties and to curb the spread of this disease.

A number of non-governmental health institutions have also started working to prevent casualties caused by this disease.

However, residents of the province have stated that there are no health centers in many remote areas in the province and asked government to establish mobile health centers in these areas.

Poor hygiene habits, hot weather and also the use of unsafe water are said to be the reasons for the spread of this disease.

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Work starts on new road to ease traffic in Kabul city

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Kabul municipality officials said Saturday construction work on the new Wazir Akbar Khan to Sherpur road has started in order to reduce traffic congestion in the city center. 

Water culverts will also be included in the project that is being undertaken by the municipality’s Department of Work Maintenance and Monitoring of Kabul Municipality, Bakhtar reported.

The project, once completed, will cost 15 million Afghanis.

The new road will link Street 15 in Wazir Akbar Khan with Street 2 in Sherpur. Six properties along this section will be demolished to make way for the road.

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