Afghan Female TV Anchors Have Now Been Forced to Cover Their Faces

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

During the Taliban’s last reign in Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, they imposed severe restrictions on women, requiring them to wear the all-encompassing burqa and prohibiting them from participating in public life or education.

After retaking power in August, the Taliban appeared to have eased some of their restrictions, announcing no dress code for women.

However, they have made a sharp, hardline pivot in recent weeks, confirming rights activists’ worst fears and complicating the Taliban’s dealings with an already distrustful international community.

The Taliban ordered earlier this month that all women wear head-to-toe clothing in public, leaving only their eyes visible. According to the decree, women should leave the house only when necessary, and male relatives will face punishment for women’s dress code violations, beginning with a summon. The Taliban leadership has also prohibited girls from attending school after the sixth grade, reversing previous Taliban promises that girls of all ages would be allowed to attend school.

Only a few news organizations followed the directive when it was issued on Thursday, May 26, 2022. However, after the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry began enforcing the rule on Sunday, most female anchors were seen with their faces covered.

The Ministry of Information and Culture previously stated that the policy was “final and non-negotiable.”

“It’s just an outside culture imposed on us, forcing us to wear a mask, and that can cause problems for us while presenting our programs,” said Sonia Niazi, a TOLOnews TV anchor in Afghanistan.

Niazi said she “wasn’t feeling good at all” while presenting programs with more than half of her face covered for the first time.

“This decree is unforeseeable for all-female presenters because Islam does not command us to cover our faces,” Niazi explained.

 Female presenters could instead wear medical masks, according to the Taliban. Regardless, Niazi stated that the order to cover her face had ‘trapped her’.

“If such decrees are issued and imposed on women, then women throughout Afghanistan will be eliminated, as we are seeing now,” she said.

In solidarity with their female colleagues, the channel’s male presenters wore masks, including the main evening newsreader.

A local media official confirmed his station received the Taliban’s order last week but was forced to carry it out on Sunday after being told it was not subject to debate. He spoke on the condition that he and his station remain anonymous to avoid retaliation from Taliban authorities.

Former Afghan parliament deputy speaker Fawzia Koofi told Al Jazeera News that the most recent order “has no justification.” and progressing to court hearings and jail time.

“Some Taliban members simply tried to impose their own self-interpreted principles in the name of religion.” It has no basis in Islam,” said Koofi.

According to Koofi, the Taliban has issued numerous decrees restricting women’s freedoms and liberties since taking power.

“I believe the Taliban are [focusing on women’s outfits] to divert public attention away from the main issues the country is facing, including the economic crisis, which the Taliban has yet to address with a single decree, growing corruption, and the war,” Koofi said.

Comments are closed.