KABUL: The Afghan government on Wednesday banned YouTube from the country for the first time to prevent people from watching an anti-Islam film which sparked a riot in Libya that killed the US ambassador and three other American diplomats.
“Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access,” communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP.
He said the block had been ordered “until YouTube removes this abusive film”.
The Afghan presidency earlier condemned the film as “inhuman and insulting,” calling for it not to be broadcast.
It was made by an Israeli-American who describes Islam as a “cancer”, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It has been promoted by controversial US pastor Terry Jones, who has drawn protests for burning the Holy Quran and vehemently opposing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York.
The communications ministry official said the ban may be lifted if video-sharing website YouTube bans access to the film.
“It seems YouTube has removed all searches for Prophet Mohammed. We may lift the ban soon if it is confirmed that YouTube has banned access to this trailer,” Marjan told AFP.
At least one Internet user in Kabul confirmed to AFP that he lost access to the website about an hour before the announcement was made public.
Riots in Afghanistan killed around 40 people earlier this year after US troops burnt copies of the Quran on a military base.