Television in Afghanistan

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Television (TV) was introduced in Afghanistan in 1964 and flourished until the 1990s, when hostilities in the capital Kabul destroyed broadcasting infrastructure. Between 1996 and 2000, the ruling Taliban outlawed television, though some stations in areas of the country under moderate control continued to broadcast. With the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, country-wide television broadcasting was resumed, beginning with the government-run channel Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA TV). In 2014, the country switched from analog to digital TV transmission.


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 the 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 technology entertainment devices. 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]

The territories that were controlled by the moderate rival Northern Alliance did not have any restrictions on television. In the country's northeast of 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, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA TV), Afghanistan's earliest television channel, was relaunched. Shamshad TV, a commercial television station operated in Afghanistan, was launched in October 2005 by SHAMSHAD RADIO & TELEVISION NETWORK, which made it became one of the first commercial TV stations in the country and laid the foundation for an accessible media outlet by offering a large library of shows. It is currently Afghanistan's most popular television channel.

As of 2016, Afghanistan has 174 radio stations, 83 private television stations, and 22 state-owned provincial channels, including RTA TV.[2]

Television ownership and viewership[edit]

According to The Asia Foundation Report of 'A Survey of the Afghan People in 2016', ownership of television is concentrated in urban areas, where electricity is more dependable and corresponds to increased household income. The central region (Kabul) exhibits the highest TV ownership, with 53.3% of households having one TV set, followed closely by the East and South West regions. Nearly two-thirds of Afghans (64.5%) report watching TV programs. Shamshad is the most watched network in Afghanistan, with 36.3% of viewing respondents, followed by Ariana TV (9.6%), TOLO TV (8.9%), and Lemar TV (8.2%). [3]

TV viewership as per The Asia Foundation Report of 'A Survey of the Afghan People in 2016' [2]
Base: Watches TV most often 7,494 respondents
Shamshad 36%
Ariana Television Network 10%
Ariana News %
Lemar HD 8%
Khurshid TV 7%
RTA 5%
1TV HD 4%
TOLOnews HD 3%
Aina TV 2%
Tamadon TV 7%
Arezo TV 2%
Zhwandoon TV 7%
Rah-e-farda TV %
Hewad TV 7%
Kabul News TV 14%
Watan-HD TV %
Watan-e-man TV %
Afghan TV %
Afghan Business Network %
Afghanistan e man %
Afghanistan TV %
Aftab TV %
Aria TV %
Asia TV %
Asr TV (Herat) %
Banoo TV HD %
Cheragh Medical TV HD %
Danish TV HD %
Dunya naw TV %
Eslah TV (Herat) %
Faryad TV (Herat) %
Mashal TV %
Maihan TV (Herat) %
Maiwand TV %
Negaah TV %
Noor TV %
Noorin TV %
Payam e watan TV %
Peyam watan %
Taraqi TV HD (Herat) %
Zan TV %
Zendagi TV %

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In Afghanistan, many people watch TV through traditional analog terrestrial signals using indoor antennas (some outdoors too). Satellite TV viewership is high.

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

On Sunday, August 31, 2014 Afghanistan’s digital TV system was officially inaugurated by the second vice president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, H. E. Mohammad Karim Khalili, and Minister of Communications and Information Technology, H. E. Amirzai Sangin, in a ceremony at Kabul Serena Hotel. [4]


  1. ^ "Afghanistan Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers - television, circulation, stations, papers, number, print, freedom". Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b "2016 Survey of the Afghan People" (PDF). April 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  3. ^ Williams, Nicola. "Afghanistan in 2016: A Survey of the Afghan People". Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Afghanistan officially launches digital TV broadcasting". Digital TV News. Retrieved 6 February 2019.