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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Female TV presenter defies Taliban order to cover face in the air

Female presenters on Afghanistan’s major TV channels aired without covering their faces on Saturday in defiance of a Taliban order in which they concealed their presence.

Since coming back to power last year, the Taliban have imposed a number of sanctions on civil society, many of which have focused on reining in the rights of women and girls.

Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s supreme leader issued a decree requiring women to completely cover their faces in public with the traditional burqa.

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The apprehensive ministry of virtue promotion and vice prevention ordered women TV presenters to comply by Saturday.
Previously they were only required to wear a headscarf.

However, broadcasters TOLOnews, Shamshad TV and 1TV all broadcast live programs on Saturday with the faces of female presenters.

Shamshad TV news head Abid Ehsaas said, “Our female colleagues are worried that if they cover their faces, they will be asked to stop working the next thing.”

“That’s why they haven’t followed the order so far,” he told AFP.

Deputy ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq Akif Mohajir said the women were violating the Taliban’s directive.

“If they do not comply, we will speak to the managers and guardians of the presenters,” he told AFP.

“Any person who lives under a particular system and government has to follow the laws and orders of that system, so they should implement that order,” he said.

The Taliban have demanded that female government employees be fired for failing to comply with the new dress code.

Men working in the government also run the risk of suspension if they fail to obey their wives or daughters.

Mohajir said that the media manager and the male guardian of the female presenter would also be liable to punishment if the order was not followed.

The Taliban previously promised a softer version of the harsh regime that characterized its first term in power from 1996 to 2001.

During the two decades of US-led military intervention in Afghanistan, women and girls made modest gains in a deeply patriarchal nation.

But since August, women have been banned from traveling alone and teenage girls have been barred from attending secondary schools.

In the 20 years after the Taliban was ousted from power, many women in conservative rural areas continued to wear the burqa.

However, most Afghan women, including TV presenters, chose Islamic headscarves.

Television channels have stopped showing women’s dramas and serials following orders from Taliban officials.

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