In Afghanistan, female TV presenters defy Taliban order to cover their faces

Since early May, Afghan women have been required to wear the full veil in public. Journalists face dismissal.

Female presenters from major Afghan TV channels went on the air Saturday without covering their faces, defying a Taliban order to conceal their appearance and thus submit to the group’s austere view of Islam. Earlier this month, the Taliban’s supreme leader issued an order that Afghanistan: Supreme Leader orders women to wear the full veil in public, including the face, ideally with the traditional burqa. Afghanistan’s dreaded Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice had ordered female TV presenters to comply by Saturday.

But female journalists from TOLOnews, Shamshad TV and 1TV all went on the air, live, without hiding their faces. “Our sisters fear that if they cover their faces, the next thing they will be told is to stop workingexplained Abid Ehsas, chief news officer of Shamshad TV. “That’s why they haven’t followed the order so far“, he told AFP.

Mohammad Sadeq Akif Mohajir, spokesman for the Ministry of Virtue Promotion and Vice Prevention, warned that the women were violating the Taliban directive. “If they don’t comply, we’ll talk to those responsible“, he told AFP. “Everyone who lives under a particular system and government must obey the laws and orders of that system, so they must enforce the order“, he asserted.

The Taliban have ordered that women working in government be fired if they fail to adhere to the new dress code. Employees also risk being suspended if their wives or daughters do not comply.

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