“These are not rules but a religious guideline,” Hakif Mohajir, a ministry spokesman, told AFP.
Despite insisting they will rule more moderately this time around, the insurgent-movement-turned-government has shown few signs of having abandoned the conservative repression of its 1990s emirate.
The Taliban have repeatedly said they will protect women’s rights in accordance with Islamic law, but girls are banned from attending secondary school in most provinces, while women are banned from the workplace. The Taliban say the restrictions on education are temporary until security improves and girls and boys can be safely kept separate in classrooms.
The Taliban tried to ban television altogether during the movement’s 1990s regime and there was only one official radio station. Those caught watching video or listening to music risked beatings and spools of tape were ripped from cassettes to adorn checkpoints.
After the Taliban were swept away in 2001, the country sprouted a vibrant media landscape as channels offered talents shows, comedy, current affairs discussions and Turkish soap operas.
Broadcasters have been toning down their content since August, when the Taliban regained power, to avoid provoking the country’s new rulers. Public displays of music have also been outlawed.