Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders have ordered all female TV presenters to cover their faces while on air, the country’s biggest news outlet said on Thursday.
The order came in a statement from the Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue and Vice, responsible for enforcing the group’s decisions, as well as the Ministry of Information and Culture, TOLOnews channel said in a tweet.
The statement called the order “final and non-negotiable,” the channel said.
The statement was sent to the Moby Group, which owns TOLOnews and several other television and radio networks, and the tweet said it was also applied to other Afghan media.
An Afghan local media official confirmed that his station had received the order and was told there was no talk. He said the station had no other choice. He spoke on the condition that he and his station not be identified for fear of trouble with authorities.
Reactions to the decree
Several presenters and presenters have posted their photos on social media showing them with their faces covered in face masks during presentation programs. Prominent TOLO presenter Yalda Ali posted a video of herself putting on a face mask with a caption: ‘woman being erased, by order of the Ministry of Virtue and Vice’ .
On one station, Shamshad TV, implementation of the order was mixed: a female presenter appeared with a face mask on Thursday, while another later in the day went without, showing her face.
During the Taliban’s first takeover from 1996 to 2001, they imposed crushing restrictions on women, forcing them to wear the burqa which even covers their eyes with a net and excluding them from public life. and education.
After regaining power in Afghanistan in August, the Taliban initially appeared to have eased their restrictions somewhat, announcing no dress code for women. But in recent weeks they have taken a sharp and uncompromising turn that has confirmed the worst fears of rights activists.
Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women in public to wear head-to-toe clothing that left only their eyes visible. The decree stated that women should only leave the house when necessary and that male relatives would be subject to punishment for violations of the women’s dress code, starting with a summons and continuing through court hearings and prison sentences.
The Taliban leader also issued an edict banning girls from school after sixth grade, reversing previous promises by Taliban officials that girls of all ages would be entitled to an education.