Presenters of major Afghan television news channels forced the Taliban to cover their faces in the air and vowed on Sunday to continue fighting for their rights.
Since they came back to power last year, the Taliban have imposed a series of sanctions on civil society, many of which are aimed at subjugating women to their fundamentalist notion of Islam.
Earlier this month, the Taliban’s top leader issued an edict ordering women to cover themselves completely, including the face, with a burqa, a full face mask with a fabric grid at eye level.
Previously, only the scarf that covered the hair was suitable.
The ministry has ordered women TV presenters to abide by Saturday for Afghanistan’s terrible virtuous promotion and vice prevention.
Women journalists initially chose not to follow this order, broadcasting live without covering their faces.
Before the turn: On Sunday, commentators wore full masks to show only their eyes and forehead to display newspapers on TOLOnews, Ariana Television, Shamshad TV and 1TV channels.
“We resisted and were against wearing it,” TOLOnews’ presenter AFP told Sonia Niazi. “But TOLOnews is under pressure.”
“Today they forced us to wear masks, but we will continue our struggle using our voice (…) I will be the voice of other Afghan women,” she promised after submitting the information bulletin. We’ll get to work until they force us to stay home. “
“We will continue our fight until our last breath,” 1TV presenter Lima Specialty also covered his face and promised a few minutes before the broadcast.
TOLOnews director Khapolwak Sapai said the channel was “forced” by its staff to enforce the order.
“We were told: ‘You have to do it. You have to do it. There is no other solution,'” Mr Sapai told AFP. “I was called on the phone yesterday and told to do this with strict rules. So, we do this by force and not by choice.
During the day, men, journalists and employees working at the TolnoNews campus in Kabul wore masks to show their solidarity with the presenters. Other employees covered their faces and continued to work.
In the evening, presenters from TOLOnews and 1TV broadcast in black masks protesting the Taliban order.
Taliban ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadek Akif Mohajir said the authorities had no intention of forcibly removing the presenters from their jobs.
“We are pleased that the channels have done their job well,” he told AFP.
The Taliban have ordered that women working in government be fired if they fail to comply with the new dress code. Male employees also run the risk of being suspended if their wives or daughters do not comply.
The Taliban regained power in August 2021, announcing a more comfortable regime than their first extremely harsh regime.
But in recent months they have begun to suppress opposition and reduce freedom, especially for women in education, work and daily life.
The women at least wore the hijab and scarf over their heads, but they started out wanting to expose their face. Then, in early May, when they were in power from 1996 to 2001, they were required to wear the full burqa in public, preferably the burqa.
In the 20 years since the Taliban were ousted in 2001, many conservative rural women have continued to wear the burqa. But many other Afghan women, especially in cities, and including television presenters, have opted for the usual head scarf.
Television channels have already stopped airing serials and soap operas featuring women under Taliban orders.