On August 17, the New York Times that the Taliban has "indefinitely suspended" women employees from state television. The Times attributed the news to Khadija Amin, a "prominent anchorwoman on state television", who reportedly spoke about it during an interaction on Clubhouse.
Amin said, "I am a journalist and I am not allowed to work. What will I do next? The next generation will have nothing, everything we have achieved for 20 years will be gone. The Taliban is the Taliban. They have not changed."
Simultaneously, photographs went viral on social media: of Beheshta Arghand, a female anchor with the privately-owned Tolo News, interviewing Taliban spokesperson Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad.
Some media houses had the programme as a "rare sign of potential optimism". In a news conference, the Taliban had to "honour" women's rights.
Tolo News founder Saad Mohseni : "It’s important for them to win hearts and minds, and show the internationals that they’re legitimate and that they’re folks you can work with. In this phase the media will have a great deal more freedom than in the latter phases."
Meanwhile, Indian independent journalist Kanika Gupta, who was based in Kabul and returned to Delhi on an IAF flight, that she saw a "sea change" in Kabul over the last few days.
"Beauty parlours were being painted over, there were no women on the streets. And Kabul has such dynamic, intelligent and fashionable women. It's always great to talk to them," Gupta said. "...The biggest fear over there is among women. They speak of threats like acid attacks if they don't cover themselves up properly. So, there is a lot of trust deficit when the Taliban today talks of no discrimination."