The Taliban will require Afghan women who present on television to wear face coverings, another regressive step for women's rights since the group's takeover last August.
The new decree, termed "advice" by a spokesman for the Taliban's Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, will take effect on Saturday. It is not clear what the consequences will be for women who appear barefaced on broadcasts, according to the BBC.
"They are putting indirect pressure on us to stop us presenting on TV," an unidentified female Afghan journalist said. "How can I read the news with my mouth covered? I don't know what to do now. I must work. I am the breadwinner of my family."
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A day earlier, the Taliban disbanded Afghanistan's independent human rights commission, deeming it "not considered necessary." Other departments the Taliban dissolved include the High Council for National Reconciliation, the National Security Council, and a commission overseeing the enactment of the country's constitution.
After retaking Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban claimed they would adopt a "softer" approach to interpreting Islamic law and providing freedoms for women but have instead implemented several social restrictions. Women in Afghanistan were not allowed to board a domestic or international flight without male relatives or chaperons beginning in March, and secondary schools for girls were forced to close the same month, "a betrayal of public commitments to the Afghan people and the international community," according to U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan Thomas West.
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The United States withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of August 2021, just as the Taliban overthrew the U.S.-backed administration of President Ashraf Ghani. Western countries conducted a large-scale evacuation effort in the two weeks that followed, with more than 100,000 people evacuated from the country.