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Afghanistan outlaws media usage of drones

Authorities in Afghanistan have banned media companies from using drone cameras. The chief reason cited was the widespread use of military unmanned aircraft in the country.

The restrictions on drone cameras will apparently not apply to the whole country, but only to sensitive areas like government and military facilities, such as those in the capital, Kabul, an official at the Ministry of Information and Culture said on the condition of anonymity. The official cited a recent incident in which a local TV news company flew a small drone over the presidential palace in Kabul while covering a large anti-government protest, causing concern over the nature of the unmanned aircraft.

US-led coalition forces have increasingly been using drones for surveillance purposes. They have also been using them to carry out airstrikes against insurgents in Afghanistan for years now.

"The Interior Ministry, with all respect it has to media, respectfully announces to all national and international media that they should not use such cameras that have broad coverage and can create problems for security institutions," the ministry said in a statement.

Some Afghans said they saw the new regulation as a limitation on their freedoms. One user tweeted that "they should ban killer drones instead."

Growing concerns around the world

Other countries have also enacted similar restrictions against drones as the expanding use of commercial and private remote-controlled aircraft is becoming a growing safety concern around the world.

In the UK, for instance, a British Airways airliner had

collided with a suspected drone

during its landing approach at London's Heathrow Airport earlier this year, despite British law expressly forbidding the use of drones near planes.

ss/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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