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 like other media in the country 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.

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

According to the Apama Research Group in a nationwide research study conducted in October 2011, Tolo TV and 1TV are in a virtual neck-and-neck tie:

  • Tolo TV has an audience share of 29%; 1TV share of audience is 21%, Kabul News TV 17%, Ariana TV 10%, Lemar TV 9%, Shamshad 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

This study was consulted by Altai Consulting in July 2010:

Notice: Emrooz TV is now closed


Number of channels per city

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.


Currently, there are three Afghan-owned stations that broadcast from outside Afghanistan via Satellite, Ariana Afghanistan Payame Afghan and Zarin TV.[6]

Major networks that broadcast in Dari include GEM Dari and Farsi 1 who mainly broadcast dubbed TV dramas.[7]

Before 2005, there were no Afghan channels available on satellite in North America and Europe. Many viewers were watching Iranian channels (with the same language, Persian).[citation needed] The same channels would also broadcast Afghan-produced programming, such as Salaam Afghanistan.[citation needed]

Defunct stations include EBC.1 from Germany (since turned into an Iranian music channel), Noor TV and Sada e Afghanistan from California.

List of channels

Name Studio location Notes
1 TV Afghanistan
Afghan Entertainment Television AET United States North America
Kabul News Afghanistan
Afghan News Afghanistan
Afghanistan National Television ANTV Afghanistan
3 Sport Afghanistan Kabul
Afghan Television Voice of Christ United States International
ARIA TV Afghanistan
Ariana Afghanistan AATV United States
Ariana TV ATN Afghanistan
United States
United Arab Emirates
ARZU TV Afghanistan Balkh Province
ARZU TV Afghanistan International
Asia TV Network Afghanistan
Ayna TV Afghanistan Currently out of service
Azizi TV Afghanistan
Bakhtar TV Afghanistan Kabul
Dawat TV Afghanistan
ERTV Afghanistan
Eslah TV Afghanistan Herat Province
FARSI1 United Arab Emirates International
FARYAD TV Afghanistan Herat Province
Gharghasht TV Afghanistan
Gorbat Afghanistan
Haft TV Afghanistan
Herai Afghanistan Herat Province
Hewad TV Afghanistan Kandahar Province
Jawan TV Afghanistan
Kabul TV Afghanistan Kabul Province
Kahkashan TV Afghanistan
Kawsar TV Afghanistan
Khawar TV Afghanistan Kunduz Province
Khorasan TV United States North America
Lemar TV Afghanistan International
Maah Naw TV Afghanistan Takhar Province
Maihan Afghanistan
Maiwand TV Afghanistan
Millat Afghanistan
Negaah TV Afghanistan
Noor TV Afghanistan Afghanistan International
Noorin TV Afghanistan
Pamir TV Afghanistan Badakhshan Province
Pashto TV Afghanistan International
Payam-E-Afghan United States
North America, Europe
Rah-e-Farda Afghanistan International
Sabawoon TV Afghanistan Helmand Province
Saqi Afghanistan
Sharq Afghanistan Nangarhar Province
Roz TV Afghanistan
RTA Afghanistan International
Saba TV Afghanistan International
Saba World Afghanistan International
Sepehr TV Afghanistan
Setara Afghanistan
Setara-E-Sahar Afghanistan
Shahr TV Afghanistan
Shamshad TV Afghanistan International
SPINGHAR TV Afghanistan International
Sima-E-Ghoryan Afghanistan Herat
Taban Afghanistan Herat Province and Nangarhar Province[8]
Semah-e-Meher TV Afghanistan Takhar Province
Tamadon TV Afghanistan
Tolo TV Afghanistan International
TOLOnews Afghanistan International
Watan TV Afghanistan
Zhwandoon TV Afghanistan
Zala TV Afghanistan Kunar Province

Former channels

  • Emrooz TV closed down in July 2010 due to its controversial religious content.


1. Watch Afghanistan Live Tv Channels Here: