Afghanistan has banned the import and exhibition of DreamWorks-produced drama The Kite Runner on the grounds that it could incite violence.

Based on the best-selling novel by US-based Afghan writer Khaled Hosseini, the film depicts a young boy's rape and scenes of conflict between members of the Pashtun and Hazara tribes. Director Marc Foster shot the film in western China, close to the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the end of 2005.

Paramount Vantage, which released the film in North America last year, had to get the three young Afghan stars of the film out of their homeland before the film opened to protect them from possible backlash.

'On the basis of the instruction of the Information and Culture Ministry, The Kite Runner film's depiction and import has been banned,' Latif Ahmadi, head of state-run Afghan Film, told Reuters.

'Because some of its scenes are questionable and unacceptable for some people and would cause sensitiveness and would cause trouble for the government and people,' he added.

The Kite Runner follows the friendship between two young boys in Afghanistan in the 1970s, just before the Soviet invasion, and the subsequent exile of one of the boys to the US and his return as an adult to his Taliban-ruled homeland. It also contains a scene in which a young boy is forced to perform an erotic dance by a corrupt Taliban official.