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A Taliban official’s TV interview with a feminine presenter is a part of a broader marketing campaign.

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As Afghan ladies remained cloistered at dwelling in Kabul, fearful for his or her lives and their futures, a starkly totally different picture performed out on Tuesday on Tolo News, an Afghan tv station: a feminine presenter interviewing a Taliban official.

Sitting a number of ft away from Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad, a member of the Taliban’s media staff, the host, Beheshta Arghand, requested him concerning the state of affairs in Kabul and the Taliban’s conducting house-to-house searches within the Afghan capital.

“The whole world now acknowledges that the Taliban are the true rulers of the nation,” he said, including: “I’m nonetheless astonished that persons are afraid of Taliban.”

The interview, exceptional given the Taliban’s historical past of subjugating ladies, was a part of a broader effort by the group since taking energy to current a extra reasonable face to the world.

They’re encouraging staff again to their jobs — and have even inspired ladies to return to work and to participate within the authorities.

“The Islamic Emirate doesn’t need ladies to be victims,” Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s fee on tradition, stated in an announcement, utilizing the group’s identify for Afghanistan. “They need to be within the authorities construction, based on Shariah regulation.”

It was unclear what it could imply for girls to have roles in public life “below Shariah regulation,” given the Taliban’s previous harsh interpretation of these legal guidelines.

Apprehensive about working afoul of native Taliban officers, Kabul residents have been tearing down commercials exhibiting ladies with out head scarves in current days.

That made the work of Tolo’s feminine journalists, together with a reporter out on the road, all of the extra notable.

Matthieu Aikins, a journalist who has reported extensively on Afghanistan, described the interview as “remarkable, historic, heartening,” though he identified that in current peace talks in Doha, the Taliban had given entry to feminine journalists from Afghanistan and different international locations.

Afghanistan observers stated that whereas it’s not unheard-of for the Taliban to grant interviews with feminine journalists, together with worldwide correspondents from CNN and different retailers, they’re uncommon contained in the nation.

The Taliban management seems to be fastidiously tending to the group’s public picture, at the same time as its members proceed to evangelise a coverage of exclusion that deprives ladies of rights and schooling contained in the nation.

The notion that the Taliban will all of the sudden change their methods has been greeted with deep skepticism.

“Please spare a thought for the individuals ladies and women of Afghanistan,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the chief director of U.N. Girls, wrote on Twitter on Monday. “A tragedy unfolds in entrance of our eyes.”

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they barred ladies and women from taking most jobs or going to high school.

After the U.S. invasion toppled the Taliban, ladies’s rights turned a rallying cry. Over 20 years, the US invested greater than $780 million to advertise ladies’s rights. Women and girls have joined the military and police forces, held political office, and competed in the Olympics and on robotics teams — issues that when appeared unimaginable.

Now, fears are rising that every one these hard-won rights will disappear.

Tolo Information has been an impartial pressure within the Afghanistan information media panorama, exhibiting cleaning soap operas and actuality exhibits that run counter to the Taliban’s conservative ethos.

After their current seize of Kabul, the Taliban entered Tolo’s information compound, accumulating all state-issued weapons, and providing to assist safe the compound.

Saad Mohseni, the chief govt of Moby Media Group, which oversees Tolo Information, informed the BBC that the Taliban had been skilled and well mannered. However he stated he suspected that his station’s content material, particularly leisure, would face eventual censorship.

“The Taliban are scrambling to take management,” he stated.