Financial dispute leads to suspension of more than 100 .af websites

macro view of group of color cubes with domain names on laptop or notebook keyboard
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Oleksiy Mark)

More than 100 Afghan websites sporting the .af domain have been suspended due to a failure in payment from a French internet services firm to the Taliban-controlled Ministry of Communications, sending websites like offline.

The suspension stems from a failure to pay around $17,000 in backpayments owed by Paris-based ISP Gandi, according to Afghan Ministry of Communications and IT spokesperson Enayatullah Alokozai (via Reuters).

Though the .af domain is related to the country of Afghanistan, ‘af’ is also a commonly used abbreviation in the English language, hence its use in non-Afghan sites.

More than 100 .af sites have gone offline

Gandi’s CEO, Arnaud Franquinet, had explained that international sanctions on the Taliban combined with Afghanistan’s precarious banking situation had resulted in challenges settling ongoing debt. Franquinet added that the number of domains affected was closer to 100, while Alokozai claimed around 150 sites had been affected.

"Given the context, it's hard to get the green light to make all the payments," Franquinet said. "We're working on it, but it takes a while."

Software developer Erin Shepherd was among the first to share information about the news, posting a message they had received online, addressed from the Ministry of Communications and IT in Kabul, Afghanistan: “ has been suspended in the registry and will no longer be included in zone file generation.  This means that any services connected with this domain, such as websites or email addresses will cease working shortly.”

Another tech worker, William Lieurance, owner of, commented about the precarious nature of geopolitical ongoings: “The lesson I've taken is that registering a domain is not the same as owning a domain.”

Reuters also noted that the Taliban spokesperson, Alokozai, claimed that the suspensions had nothing to do with the content of some of the domains, indicating that payment would reverse the suspension. 

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