Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers ordered television presenters to cover their faces during programmes. The new decree, which Afghan authorities refer to as “advice” to broadcasters, is another case of women’s marginalization in society. In early May the Taliban ordered them to cover their entire bodies in public.

Reuters quoted a representative of the Ministry of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (formerly the Ministry of Women), as saying that the authorities informed the media of the new decree on Wednesday. – Yesterday we met the announcers. They took our advice with great joy, Akef Mahjar said on Thursday. In his opinion, the decision will appeal to Afghans.

Mohajer said the deadline for the media to apply the new law is May 21. And although the representative of the Taliban described the authorities’ decision as “advice”, he declined to answer the question of what the consequences of non-compliance with it would be.

A ministry spokesperson added that bidders can use sanitary masks, as has been common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afghan Asr TV news journalists in 2020Jalil Rezaei / Environmental Protection Agency / Bab

Taliban ‘want women to live as prisoners in their homes’

A journalist, who works for a local TV station in Kabul, told the BBC that the Taliban, through the new regulations, were trying to put “indirect pressure on women so that they could not work as broadcasters”. – How can I read the information with my mouth covered? I do not know what to do now. Asking to remain anonymous, she said I have to work, as I am the breadwinner.

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The reporter called on the international community to put pressure on the Taliban government. – They should say [talibom – red.]She added that they have 10 days to change their mind, or else they will cut off their relationship and cut off assistance from them. In her view, the Taliban plan to prevent women from doing any work outside the home. “They want women to live as prisoners in their homes,” she said.

Marginalization of the role of women under the rule of the Taliban

The new rules came just days after authorities in Kabul ordered Afghan women to wear headscarves in public. All women, except for young girls and old women, have to adapt to this.

During its first rule in Afghanistan in 1996-2001, the Taliban introduced a series of laws restricting women’s rights. After their removal from power by an international coalition, the new government in Kabul relaxed the law.

In August of last year, the Taliban regained power and, while initially announcing a change in morals, soon began enacting laws that re-marginalize the role of women in society. The freedom of movement of women without a guardian was restricted, and girls were prevented from attending schools above the sixth grade.

Main image source: Jalil Rezaei / Environmental Protection Agency / Bab