The Taliban have instructed female newscasters to cover their faces. Male colleagues joined

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The Taliban has instructed all women newscasters to cover their faces during broadcasts as part of a broader policy to cover the heads and toes of all Afghan women.

Refusing to comply is dangerous for women. So some male colleagues have covered their faces in protest.

“We are deeply saddened today,” Khapalwalk Sapai, deputy director of ToloNews in Afghanistan, said in a Facebook post on Sunday, the day after the Taliban’s order took effect.

He shared pictures of male and female employees sitting together in a screen-filled office, all wearing black masks.

This is a common job but can pay a heavy price under the Taliban. Since coming to power nationwide in August, the extremist group has flogged, beaten and detained journalists indiscriminately.

The Taliban has publicly ordered Afghan women to be covered from head to toe

The international community has refused to formally recognize the Taliban government because of its mistreatment of women as well as its persecution of religious minorities and political freedoms. The Taliban, citing a radical interpretation of Islamic law, has banned women from traveling without male guardians and restricted women’s and girls’ access to education and employment.

But as Afghanistan’s economy continues to collapse and its humanitarian crisis grows, group leaders have called on international donors to rejoin and send aid, arguing that they have changed since coming to power in the 1990s.

However, the message was refuted by a decree issued on May 7 instructing women to cover their heads and feet in public – as required during the last Taliban regime – according to a Statement From the UN mission in Afghanistan .. “This decision contradicts the numerous assurances given by the Taliban representatives to the international community about the respect and protection of the human rights of all Afghans, including women and girls.”

The Taliban is ruling Afghanistan through the eyes of four women

The decree initially did not apply to female journalists in Afghanistan who came of age in the midst of two decades of growing independence after the Taliban’s initial ouster.

But on Thursday, the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry said it was extending the ruling to include female newscasters and anchors from May 21. The ministry told Reuters that surgical masks could count as a face mask.

On Saturday, female news presenters briefly refused to comply. But as of Sunday, the Taliban were covering the news with pressure on their mouths as pressure mounted on media companies, Tolo News reported.

“Yesterday I was called on the telephone and told to do it in harsh language,” ToloNews’ Sapai told AFP. “So, it’s not by choice but by force we’re doing it.”

The Taliban had earlier forced women to cover their heads on the screen during the campaign.

“It’s true that we are Muslims, we wear hijabs, we cover our hair, but it is very difficult for a presenter to cover their face for two or three hours in a row and talk like that,” said Farida Sial, a presenter at ToloNews. BBC

“They want to remove women from social and political life,” he added.

Images of masked Afghan journalists, both men and women, have spread online under the English hashtag #freeherface.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement Monday, “This rule clearly violates women’s right to freedom of expression, as well as personal autonomy and religious beliefs.”

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CNN on Friday that female television presenters should refuse to abide by the rules because “this is not Afghan tradition.”

According to a December survey by Reporters Without Borders and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association, some 230 media outlets have closed and more than 6,400 journalists have lost their jobs since the Taliban took over. Female journalists have been hit the hardest, with 1 in 4 no longer working in the field.

The United States is holding a “dialogue” with the Taliban-led foreign minister, Thomas West, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Amir Khan Muttaki, on gender rights. In a tweet on Saturday, Dr..

West said he and Rina Amiri, the US special envoy for Afghan women, girls and human rights, spoke to Muttaqi on Saturday and gave a “unified international message.” [international] Opposing ongoing and expanding restrictions on the rights and role of women and girls in society. “

Washington withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan on August 30, two weeks after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.

“Trust me, we’ve lost our way,” Benazir Baktash, a 26-year-old local television presenter in Kabul, told the Washington Post after the May 7 announcement.

The Taliban is “preoccupied with very small issues, and needs to do more for the country,” he said. “Rules should be enacted to reduce their poverty and help people find jobs.”

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