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Taliban executes cover-up order for women TV presenters News

ISLAMABAD – On Sunday, Afghan Taliban leaders began carrying out an order requiring all women TV presenters to cover their faces during a broadcast. The move is part of a brutal shift that condemns human rights activists.

After the order was announced on Thursday, only a few news agencies complied with it.

But on Sunday, most female anchors were spotted with their faces closed after the Taliban’s vice and virtue ministry began enforcing the decree.

Earlier, the Ministry of Information and Culture announced that the policy was “final and not subject to discussion.”

“It’s just an external culture imposed on us that makes us wear masks, and it can create a problem for us during the presentation of our programs,” said Sonia Niyazi, TV presenter at TOLOnews. As a sign of solidarity with female colleagues, the channel’s staff covered their faces with masks, including the reader of the main evening news.

A local media spokesman confirmed that his station received the order last week, but was forced to carry it out on Sunday after he was told it was out of the question.

He said on condition that he and his station remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the Taliban authorities.

During the last Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 1996-2001, they imposed severe restrictions on women, requiring them to wear a comprehensive burqa and denying them access to public life and education.

After they regained power in August, the Taliban at first seemed to ease some of their restrictions by announcing a lack of a dress code for women.

But in recent weeks, they have taken a sharp, brutal turn that has confirmed human rights activists’ worst fears and further complicated the Taliban’s relationship with the already distrustful international community.

Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women in public to wear clothing from head to toe that leaves only the eyes visible. The decree says women should leave home only when necessary, and male relatives will be punished for violating women’s dress codes, starting with a subpoena and moving on to court hearings and imprisonment.

The Taliban leadership also banned girls from attending school after sixth grade, overturning earlier promises by Taliban officials that girls of all ages would be allowed to study.

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