Afghanistan bans PUBG, calls for regulation of video games

The ban is a temporary one.

Image via Tencent

The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) announced today it has decided to ban “PUBG online game” temporarily after a “comprehensive assessment.”

The ATRA said that it held meetings with different ministries such as religious affairs, education, public health, and communications and science. It added that it also talked with psychologists, parents, headmasters, telecom companies, civil activists, and PUBG gamers before submitting a report to the authority board.

“The decision was taken to block this game on a temporary basis considering social and security perspectives,” said the acting chairman of the ATRA, Omar Mansoor Ansari. “ATRA continues investigations and consultations to find out a permanent solution thereto.”

The ATRA board has instructed the regulatory authority to develop a “special policy and procedure” for regulating the “games industry market” by using the temporary ban on PUBG.

The board has also said to identify any games in the country which may have “negative impacts” on children and youth. The board also added that it wanted to provide support for developing games “complying with Afghani and social culture, as well as religious values.”

While the press release doesn’t mention exactly, the ban likely applies to PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite.

Afghanistan now joins a growing list of countries that have banned PUBG. This includes Nepal, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, and India. Jordan said the game had “negative effects” on players while Iraq called it “harmful to society,” which posed a “potential national security threat.” The ban in Pakistan was a temporary one with the Islamabad High Court lifting the ban later.

India was the most recent country to ban PUBG Mobile and its lite version. The country’s ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) alleged that the game was stealing users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers outside India.