Television in Afghanistan

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Shamshad TV studio in 2010. In the background are the station owner Fazle Karim Fazl, with former U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Afghan Communications Minister Sangin Amirzai.

This article details Television in Afghanistan.


Television was first introduced in 1964, when a new organization called Radio Television Afghanistan (government-owned) founded a TV channel. After the completion of feasibility study under grant aid from Japan, construction work of the studio and transmitter buildings were finished by August 1978. During the 1980s, many Soviet programmes were airing such as the children's show Nu Pogodi!.

From 1992 onwards television went into a steep decline as a result of war in the city of Kabul, destroying infrastructure.

During the Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001, television was strictly banned. Stores were not allowed to sell TVs, satellite dishes, VCRs, or other similar technologic entertainment. Anyone owning or watching TV was arrested and punished. The national television broadcaster was closed down, whilst private broadcasters' buildings and studios were smashed by the regime's police.[1]

Territory that was controlled by the moderate rival Northern Alliance meanwhile did not have any restrictions on television. However the Northern Alliance's only major city was Mazar-i-Sharif, which itself fell to the Taliban in 1998, and at its peak the Taliban controlled 90% of the country. In the country's northeast in the province of Badakhshan, a television channel financed by the Northern Alliance broadcast news and movies to approximately 5,000 people in the city of Fayzabad. When the Karzai administration came to power in December 2001, television service was preparing to be re-introduced soon after, with RTA launching again the following year after German funding built broadcasting buildings in Kabul.

In July 2010 authorities closed down a private television station, Emrooz TV, due to its controversial religious content.

It was reported in 2011 that as many as 76 television channels are available in Afghanistan, 36 of them in the capital of Kabul. They are broadcasting news, entertainment, religious, sports and cultural programs with each channel having its own viewers.[2][3]


Most people in Afghanistan prefer to watch TV in the evening, between 7pm to 11pm. As of 2012, there are believed to be about 76 television channels in the country.[2]

Audience share per channel[edit]

According to the Apama Research Group in a nationwide research study conducted in October 2011, Tolo TV and Shamshad TV are in a virtual neck-and-neck tie:

  • Tolo TV has an audience share of 29%; Shamshad tv share of audience is 21%, Kabul News TV 17%, Ariana TV 10%, Lemar TV 9%, 1d TV 5%, Afghan TV 4%, and 26% for others.

This compares to data taken in 2010, which showed results once dominated by Tolo TV.

Audience share per channel, by city[edit]

This study was consulted by Altai Consulting in July 2010:

Notice: Emrooz TV is now closed


Number of channels per city[edit]

As of January 2016:


In Afghanistan, many people watch TV through traditional analog terrestrial signals using indoor antennas (some outdoors too). There are also satellite television viewers - but those are for watching foreign channels, mainly European, American, Indian, Turkish, Pakistani, and Iranian. In the last few years, there have also been a fast-growing number of cable television providers and viewers, with the newest houses in the country connected to cable networks.

On January 2013 Afghanistan's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has held a meeting with TV broadcasters on plans to switch from analogue to digital transmission systems. Afghanistan has adopted the DVB-T2 standard and the switchover would begin in Kabul.


1. Watch Afghanistan Live Tv Channels Here: