'Sesame Street' Makes Afghan Debut

The popular American children's show "Sesame Street" aired for the first time in Afghanistan last week.

Culturally adapted for an Afghan audience, the new, 26-episode series features prerecorded puppet footage dubbed in Dari and Pashto, reports AFP.

In order to get kids to tune in and learn from the show, producers made a few tweaks to the original version, notes Radio Free Europe.

Tania Farzana, the Afghan-American executive producer, made the tough decision to cut Oscar the Grouch and The Count.

"I struggled a little bit with The Count, because the Count is a Dracula and no one [here] understands why he has fangs, so I had to omit him, too," Farzana told Radio Free Europe. "Another one was Oscar [the Grouch]."

She also had to change dancing to exercise, to avoid sparking any controversy over such activity performed in front of the opposite sex, she tells AFP.

The show has a $1 million budget funded jointly by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the non-profit Sesame Shop.

Some Afghans feel the show illustrates the disconnect between what Afghans need and the huge amount of American aid sent to the country.

Not only do millions of Afghans live in poverty, but less than two-thirds of children are enrolled in primary school, says Afghan Masood Sanjar, a Tolo TV channel manager, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Since its premiere in 1969, "Sesame Street" has become a global enterprise that currently airs in 120 countries around the world.

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