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Taliban Orders Women News Anchors in Afghanistan To Cover Faces While on TV

Earlier this month, the Taliban had ordered all women to wear a burqa covering them head-to-toe in public places.

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Militant organisation Taliban, which had seized control of Afghanistan in August last year, has ordered women TV news anchors to cover their faces while on air.

As per local news reports, the Information and Culture Ministry headed by the Taliban issued the order on Thursday, 19 May, but was complied with only from Sunday, as the Vice and Virtue Ministry began enforcing the decree. The Vice and Virtue Ministry is in charge of implementing Islamic law in the nation, as defined by the Taliban.

The Information and Culture Ministry emphasised the wearing of the hijab, and said the policy was "final and non-negotiable," reported news agency AP.

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"This is not our word, it is an order of God. Covering the face is a part of Hijab. But if the face is not covered, we cannot say it is not absolute observation of Hijab, but it is not a good observation of Hijab as it is supposed to be for women," a spokesman for the ministry, Akif Mahajar, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews.

'Islam Has Not Commanded Us To Cover Our Faces'

Various broadcasters have opposed the mandate requiring women anchors to cover their faces while on TV.

"It is just an outside culture imposed on us, forcing us to wear a mask, and that can create a problem for us while presenting our programmes," said Sonia Niazi, a TV anchor with Afghanistan's TOLOnews.

"This decree is unpredictable for all female presenters because Islam has not commanded us to cover our faces," Niazi said. The male presenters of TOLOnews, in solidarity with female presenters, had appeared on air wearing masks on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women to wear a burqa covering them head-to-toe in public places. The decree said that if a woman did not cover her face outside her home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and subsequently imprisoned or fired from government jobs.
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The militant group had also previously issued a rule prohibiting girls in grades above sixth from attending school.

Under the previous Taliban reign (1996 and 2001) as well, girls were not allowed to enter schools or attend universities. Women could not step out of their homes without a male relative to escort them and had to cover their faces at all times.

(With inputs from TOLOnews.)

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Topics:  Afghanistan   Taliban 

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