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Taliban issues diktat barring TV shows with women actors

Afghan singer Zulala Hashemi (C) performs alongside competitors Sayed Jamal Mubarez (L) and Babak Mohammadi (R) during the television music competition 'Afghan Star' in Kabul, March 9, 2017. (Photo: Gandhara)

The Taliban has issued a diktat to Afghan TV channels barring them from showing dramas and soap operas featuring women actors.

The directive issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also makes it mandatory for women television journalists to wear Islamic hijabs while presenting their reports.

The ministry has also asked the channels not to air films or programmes in which the Prophet Mohammed or other revered figures are shown.

It called for banning films or programmes that were against Islamic and Afghan values.

Also read:  World should not turn soft towards Taliban: Tajikistan tells UNSC

The Taliban's fresh guidelines will set the clock back for the Afghan media which had grown over the last 20 years with dozens of television channels and radio stations being set up under Western-backed governments.

They had been liberally airing music videos, along with several Turkish and Indian soap operas but all this has now come to an end under the radical policy adopted by the Taliban.

During the earlier Taliban regime, Voice of Sharia was the only radio station which was used to broadcast propaganda and Islamic programmes.

The Taliban has been claiming that their second stint in power after 20 years will be more liberal with women rights also being respected, but this has turned out to be mere rhetoric as they seek recognition for their government to get access to foreign aid again.

The Afghanistan economy is on the brink of collapse and foreign aid which helped the country to survive has come to an abrupt end with the Taliban storming to power in a military blitzkrieg.