– We are deeply saddened – VG

Forced to cover up: TOLOnews presenter Sonia Niazi poses after an interview with AFP on Tolo TV in Kabul on May 22, 2022.

When host Sonia Niazi came to work on Sunday, she had to forcibly cover her face. The reunification of Afghanistan with the Taliban regime had dire consequences for Afghan women.


– We are deeply saddened today, TOLOnews editor-in-chief Akhpolwak Safi wrote on Facebook.

Afghan media had hoped they could persuade the Taliban to back down by defying the order announced on Thursday. At that time, only a few media outlets followed suit.

But on Sunday, all of the broadcasters covered their faces during the broadcast. At the end of this week, the authorities announced that the order would be carried out.

– Today they imposed a mask on us, but we will continue to fight using our voices, says Sonia Niazi in TOLOnews after the news broadcast.

Raised the issue live

On the TV show, she wears a black veil with a veil covering everything but her eyes and forehead.

– I will never cry because of this, but I want to be the voice of other Afghan girls, she says.

The female employees were also covered by the leading TV channels Ariana TV, Shamsad TV and 1TV.

Insight Joya raised the issue during her live broadcast on Ariana when she said that Islam did not impose anything on anyone with authority.

We struggle and continue our work even in the burqa. She said nothing could stop us.

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Khater Ahmadi made the news on TOLOnews in Kabul on Sunday after the Taliban began implementing their latest injunction.

ready to fight

Lima Spisali, news anchor at 1TV, says it’s hard to work under the Taliban government. But she is ready for battle.

– We will continue our fight until our last breath, she told Agence France-Presse a few minutes before she went on the air.

TOLOnews director Khpolwak Sapai says he has been asked to make sure the female staff are following Taliban orders.

Yesterday I was summoned and was asked on strict terms to do so. Sabai says it is not something we choose, but it is forced.

Until now, female announcers on Afghan television had only to wear scarves.

Support colleagues: TV presenter Nizar Nabil wore a face mask to protest the Taliban’s new order requiring female television staff to cover their faces.

Men in face masks

Niazi believes the Taliban’s decision is an attempt to force female journalists out of their jobs.

– It’s like depriving us of our identity. Despite this, we will raise our voices. She says: We will go to work again and again until the Islamic Emirate takes us out of public places or forces us to sit at home.

Several of her male colleagues went on Sunday with black bandages in solidarity with the women. Among them was the TOLOnews anchor on the evening news. At the editorial office in Kabul, female employees continued to work without covering their faces while they were not on air.

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Thank you to all colleagues who helped us lift this heavy burden, Niazi wrote on Facebook Sunday night.


The Ministry of Information and Culture stated that the new dress code is final and non-negotiable, the AP news agency wrote.

The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, the Islamist movement imposed widespread restrictions on women’s lives. They were forced to wear a full-length burqa, denied education and prevented from participating in large sections of society.

After the Taliban came to power again in August, they gave the impression that they had moderated somewhat – and a new women’s dress code awaited them. But in recent weeks, Islamists have hardened it.

Wants to turn up the volume: News anchor Sonia Niazi had to cover her face when she came to work for TOLOnews on Sunday. – We will go to work again and again until the Islamic Emirate takes us out of public places or forces us to sit at home, she says.

deprivation of education

Earlier in May, all women in Afghanistan were told that they should be covered from head to toe, with only their eyes visible. The Taliban decree also stipulated that women should leave their homes only when necessary. Male relatives can be punished if the women do not follow the dress code.

The Taliban leadership also prohibited girls from attending school after the sixth grade. It is a violation of the promises they made that all girls of all ages receive an education.

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The new rulers also closed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and replaced it with a ministry that promotes good morals and prevents sinful behavior.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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