Arab televisions have dropped a controversial drama on Afghanistan after Islamic militants threatened attacks over the programme they deemed insulting to the ousted Taliban, Gulf media sources said yesterday.
They said Qatar state television, the main financier of "The Road to Kabul", halted its distribution following the threat from an unknown militant group to attack stations that air it.
Qatar television said it dropped the Jordanian-produced show, timed to the peak viewing season during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, because it was "not technically complete" and the content had to be reviewed.
But one media source told Reuters: "This move is due to the militant threat on the Internet."
The Mujahideen Brigades in Iraq and Syria blasted the drama which it said was misleading and insulted the Islamist hardline Taliban which had harboured al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The drama depicts the love between an Afghan girl and an Arab man against the backdrop of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the rise of the Taliban and the 2001 U.S. invasion.It was not possible to authenticate the militant statement which was posted on the Internet.
Saudi-owned Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), which had started airing the show since the start last week of Ramadan said yesterday it would stop airing the drama after Qatar television refused to supply the rest of series' episodes.
"MBC is forced to stop airing 'The Road to Kabul' because the distributors have refused to continue supplying the episodes," a statement said.
"MBC was surpised by a strange request from Qatar television asking us to stop airing the show without giving us any justificaton. Their answer was that work in the rest of the episodes had stopped due to technical reasons," it said.
Jordanian television said it had not halted the show due to the threats but on a request from Qatar television, local newspapers reported.