Afghanistan bans Pakistan newspapers over Taliban support

File photo (2008) of President Karzai (left) and his his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari Both leaders say they are determined to reduce tension on their joint border

Afghanistan has moved to block the entry of all newspapers from Pakistan, saying they serve Taliban militants.

In its order, the interior ministry said the newspapers "are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen" and has ordered police forces in east Afghanistan to confiscate all copies.

The latest move comes amid increasing tension between the two countries.

Afghanistan has urged Pakistan to immediately stop shelling in the border province of Kunar.

The Afghan interior ministry order focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at Torkham, a busy border crossing.

It authorises police to impound Pakistani newspapers in the three eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan.

Referring to the reasons for the move, the ministry said news in the Pakistani newspapers "is not based in reality and it is creating concerns for our countrymen in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan".

'Sensitive issue'

Correspondents say that cross-border violence has become a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan, where many are wary of Pakistan's historic ties to the Taliban.

At a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said the attacks had killed dozens of civilians.

The UN says around 4,000 people have been displaced due to cross-border shelling.

Last month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, agreed to send a joint military delegation to examine the shelling across their border.

Islamabad says that the violence is being carried out by Pakistani Taliban fighters sheltering in Afghanistan, who have infiltrated the border to resume attacks on its security forces.

Pakistan says it is only targeting militants who flee from their territory and try to seek a safe haven in Afghanistan.

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