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Female Afghan TV Journalists Appear With Faces Covered Following Taliban Order

A female presenter for TOLOnews, Thamina Usmani, covers her face in a live broadcast in Kabul on May 22.

Female news presenters and other journalists appeared on Afghan television with their faces covered on May 22 in compliance with an order by the country’s de facto Taliban authorities.

Earlier in the month, Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a decree ordering women to completely cover up in public, ideally with the traditional burqa.

On May 21, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued the same order for women appearing on television.

However, women initially defied the order, going on the air on May 21 with their faces visible.

On May 22, however, female presenters in full hijabs with their faces covered by veils that showed only their eyes read the news on all leading channels.

“We resisted and were against wearing masks,” TOLOnews presenter Sonia Niazi told AFP. “But TOLOnews was pressured, and we were forced to wear it.”

A ministry spokesman said the authorities do not oppose female news presenters in general.

Since taking control of Afghanistan last August, the unrecognized Taliban authorities have issued numerous decrees restricting the rights of women and girls. They have been barred from traveling unless accompanied by a male guardian and from attending secondary schools.

Based on reporting by AFP and the BBC