An official said on Thursday that Taliban authorities in Afghanistan had asked television broadcasters to ensure that female presenters covered their faces while broadcasting on local stations.
The move comes just days after authorities ordered women to cover their faces in public, a return to the Taliban’s radical regime in the past and an increase in restrictions that have caused outrage at home and abroad.
“Yesterday we met with media officials … they gladly accepted our advice,” Akif Mahzar, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry, told Reuters.
While formulating the move as “advice,” Mahajer added: “The last date for TV presenters to cover their faces is May 21,” specifying when compliance with the new requirements should begin.
He did not answer questions about the consequences of not following the advice.
Most Afghan women wear headscarves for religious reasons, but in urban areas like Kabul, many do not cover their faces. During the last Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, it was compulsory for women to wear the all-encompassing blue burqa.
Mahazar said female presenters could wear a medical face mask, as COVID-19 was widely used during the epidemic.
After the fall of the Taliban government after the US-led invasion in 2001, women in Afghanistan ran for jobs and education, an effort that was banned for them under Taliban rule at the time.
The Taliban has said it has changed since its last rule, but has recently added regulations such as restricting the movement of women without a male chaperone. Even girls over the age of 13 are still not allowed to return to school and college.
A female employee of a local television channel, who did not want to be named, told Reuters that Taliban officials visited their office on Wednesday.
“Today (Thursday) the production department wore masks but the news office continued as usual,” the employee said.
Some channels have already started implementing the new rules.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)