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Afghan Government to TV Hosts: Headscarves, Less Makeup

Bahar Jooya prepares herself for a live program at a private TV studio in Herat, Dec. 2009 (file photo).

The Afghanistan government is asking female television presenters to start wearing headscarves and avoid heavy makeup.

The Information and Culture Ministry made the request Wednesday in a letter distributed to the media.

The request comes as Afghan and U.S. officials seek talks with the Taliban in an effort to ensure stability after foreign troops leave.

Human rights activists have expressed concerns about the protection of women as international forces begin withdrawing from the country.

Afghan media has enjoyed considerable freedom since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, with dozens of television stations opening over the decade.

Under Taliban rule in the 1990s, women in Afghanistan were not allowed to go to work, get an education or leave the house without being escorted by a man.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.